Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A storm, three cats, and a bird

Yesterday's "It started to rain" actually was this storm. Hart's whiskers really knew what they were talking about.

We live in Kingwood so you can see what was about to happen... a good gullywasher as they say around here.

There were tornados later in other parts of Houston, but we just got some nice strong breezes.

Since it was really muggy and warm inside, and the storm front was cooler, I decided to cheat the utility company out of air conditioner kilowatt fees. I mean really, air conditioning in October? Enough already!

I opened all our doors and windows and let the cool breezes through, and enjoyed listening to the rain and thunder.
A few hours later I had shut the doors and windows again, and got busy cutting out that dress.

Out of the corner of my one open eye I saw Hart leap about four feet into the air after a dark object.

I put down my scissors and went to investigate.

All three cats were in a circle around this
A Carolina Wren had flow inside some time during the storm!

I started to yell at the cats to get away, while trying to think how I could catch this bird, which was just sitting there looking at me like this was all my fault.

I grabbed a pot (should have grabbed the bird, but was squeamish) and kept yelling at the cats to stay away. As I bent over to put the bird under the pot, the wren flew up at me, just nipping past my ear.


Such a bad idea. Bell's Palsy also affects your hearing. Everything I say sounds like it has been spoken to me through a microphone, slightly amplified.
Screaming sounded like I was screaming into my own ear.

Well, that rattled me but good.

The bird had flown up to the watering can and greenery (fake) above the cabinets in my kitchen. Still giving me this "I am so sick of all of you" look, he/she was now perched in the greenery, and holding perfectly still.

I decided I needed help. Catching a bird using just one eye was unlikely. My brain was clearly pretty wonky too, because I idiotically went to change out of a wrinkly cotton dress and into a clean tee and skirt before heading next door to ask the neighbor's for help.

(Let me also admit here that locking the cats up would have been a far more sensible use of my time. And that our late 20 something neighbors are the tee shirt and jeans type anyway.)

Andrew was out of town, but Barbara and one year old Joseph were available. And, Praise the LORD, they have a koi pond which means they have a fine fish net!

Baby Andrew riding on his mom's hip, and me pushing a stroller to contain said baby once the bird catching commenced, we trooped back into my house. The bird was still with the watering can.

But as soon as we took a closer look, he/she flew the coop (sorry, couldn't resist) and sailed off into the living room towards the mantle. And immediately disappeared.

Now the cats were still circling, and I did try to grab Tiggie. He doesn't do grab. OR catch, or even pick up without putting up a valiant fight.

I tried to herd him into our sun room, but even that was flop. At least he didn't draw my blood this time. He prides himself on drawing blood when challenged.

Barbara kept looking for the bird. I stared long and hard at the mantel, and finally spotted the bird nestled in the little pot with the gold balls surrounded by angels. Praying, no doubt, for this hell to end....

I pointed to the clay pot and Barbara took a closer look, and said she didn't see the bird. I pointed it our again. The bird didn't look real. So still, it looked like an artfully designed Christmas ornament.

While we were trying to figure how to snare it from the pot, the wren flew again, into one of the window panes, and landed on the carpet. All three cats were there in a shot...I was shoving slavering cats on three fronts while Barbara brought down the net on wren.

I slid opened the window, the net was thrust out, and the bird was released back into the semi wilds of my garden.


Now a bit about Carolina Wrens: They are quick little birds with bodies about the size of a chicken egg and a perky little bar striped tail that sticks up almost at a 90 degree angle from its body.

And they are loud for being such little birds. Their call is unmistakable, as they shrill "Teakettle, teakettle, teakettle!" in such an urgent voice that to have one sound off from a perch as you go by leaves you with a ringing in your ear. The link to the bird picture includes a clip of the bird song. I hope your computer will let you listen!

I just love Carolina Wrens.

I included a shot of the candle where the bird hid, as it is inscribed with words from the story "Beauty and the Beast". Irony there, don't you think?
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