Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Unexpected Visitor

Last night after dark I was in the kitchen fixing supper when suddenly there was a commotion at the window.

Two of the more adept moth-catching cats were at immediate alert, leaping to the window for a closer look. But it was no moth.

A tiny black-capped chickadee, the Maine state bird, was knocking and fluttering at the pane, leaping off the sill and trying to gain entry through the glass.

Our outdoor cat had slipped out at nightfall, so the situation became one of emergency level before the huntress on the outside of the house caught a feathery supper.

Quickly, without pausing to put anything on my bare feet, I charged out the door and around the dark side of the house. I cupped my hands and gathered the alarmed bird into my hands. Trying to think on my bare feet, so to speak, and seeing the cats staring through the window, I wondered what to do with the refugee.

I decided to put it in a tree on the other corner of the house-an evergreen hemlock with branches low enough for me to reach. By the time I came around the corner (mere seconds)the Willow had come out onto the back deck in her bare feet to see what was going on. I told her I was going to put the bird in the tree, and gave her a glimpse of its tiny black head at the top of my hands.

The bird tried to peck me-its diminutive size lending no force to the action. I reached up into the branches and carefully offered the bird the perch.

Either it was unacceptable, or the bird was in a panic, as it flew erratically to a second story branch on a beech outside my bedroom window. I was relieved that it did not return to the window.

The weather was freezing drizzle and the perch was well exposed to the elements. The chicadee did not look pleased. Willow commented that it looked about to vomit.

Another check a few minutes later showed that the bird had gone.

We checked all the windows and no sign of it.

The best I could surmise was that something had startled the bird out of its snug roost. Chickadees prefer to sleep in small cavities, and it is possible that the flying squirrels had frightened it out into the dark. Disoriented, the bird headed for the light at the windows.

Half asleep and in the dim light, it had trouble flying up to the branch, but hopefully after a few moments surveying things from the higher perch it got its bearing and found a safer place to sleep.

We just started putting seed out for the chickadee flock, which they dicovered on Thanksgiving. Willow has been trying to befriend them, and she insists that the bird was "Beauty", the one who trusts her.

Well, we hope that "Beauty" weathered the cold ice fog night in one piece, and finds a safer roost tonight.


Wood Mouse said...

I had to look up what a Black capped Chickadee looked like, as we do not have them in Britain. Well I think willows name is just perfect.

Velvet Ginger said...

I sure hope Beauty found a safe place too! You did a good thing.
I stopped putting bird feed out as I felt it was "luring" them to their death since I have 2 felines.
I have cactus wrens that roost way up in my palm tree & cackle "ha ha dumb dumbs you cant get us!" at my cats!

tree ocean said...

Sorry I didn't get a pic of one, Mouse. Finally charged the cam batteries yesterday, so I might attempt it today. They are very small birds so it will be challenging to get a good pic on my cam.

V.G. one of the things that amazed me about your recent pics was the thorny cacti all over the place! And I thought my wild rose was dangerous!

I do have the feeder way up in a branchy hemlock. Jingle (the cat)did scale the tree trying to grab a bird, but her chances are not good grabbing one off a high branch. At least I hope not!