Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Birdie Rescue Mission

Our garage is L shaped.  The long part is where you park the car.  The short part is a storage area--home to the lawn mower, bicycles, camping and gardening supplies.  There are two doors facing each other across the short part allowing passage directly from the front driveway through the garage into the backyard.  I'd been mowing the lawn and pulling weeds and picking up downed branches, going back and forth from the front to the back.  So I'd left both doors wide opened.  After I was done with yard work I closed up and went inside to work on some sewing.

Matt came home and walked into the sewing room saying "Did you know there is a bird in the garage?"

So we went back out and sure enough, there was a bird in the rafters flying back and forth in panic the length of the exposed rafters.  I imagine trying to figure out an escape plan.

We tried to urge it down with a broom, and then a rake, but only succeeded in scaring it from one end of the garage to the other.  I was sort of at a loss.  I didn't want to leave it in there, but I didn't want to accidentally kill it or have it kill itself in its headlong panicked flight.

So we stopped, gave it some thought, and regrouped.  This time we came armed with a milk crate and blanket.  Matt shooed it in my direction and I blocked its escape back to the other side of the garage with the crate, trapping it inside until I got it to the door and it shot outside again.

Unfortunately in its rush to escape the crate into the outdoors it flew directly into the side of the house with a thud and came crashing down to the patio.  It sat there in the strangest posture I ever saw in a bird.  It was sitting directly on its butt, not on its feet like you usually see birds do.  Its feet were sticking out in front in a rather human-in-a-lounge-chair pose.  Its wings were spread out and back instead of tight against its little body.  Its mouth was open and it was breathing very fast.  I was sure it had been scared and battered enough it was going to die right there.  I'd never seen a bird act like that.   I wish I'd snapped a photo of it.  I tried to find something like it on various birding websites, but came up with nothing.

Not knowing what else to do for the poor thing we set a shallow container of water nearby and left it be.  When we came back 30 minutes later it was gone.  I can only hope it was just a little tired and shocked and after a brief rest managed to fly away from the incident rather unscathed.

I don't know what kind of bird it was.  I am thinking possibly a juvenile starling, though we don't see starlings in our yard.  That is my best guess though.

update 7/19/2012:  Strike that last part.  Upon further examination (and suggestion by Mary) it is probably a juvenile catbird. 


  1. That sounds traumatic for all of you!

    1. I love birds so would break my heart to have any part in killing one. But, alls well that ends well.

  2. Juvenile starlings have these light colored dots on them and bright yellow beaks. This looks sort of like a cat bird. I hope he is fine too!

    1. You know that was the other bird that I initially thought of, but my bird guide didn't look quite right. Not that it looked perfect for starlings either. I've been googling images online now and I think you are indeed correct.


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