â€¦couldnâ€™t help the little house wren that found its way into the chimney of our woodstove this afternoon. It was a cold and rainy day, and the cats were bored and prowling around, looking for something to do. A scritching noise coming from the woodstove was so very promising. I opened the door to the stove and peered in, but saw nothing. But a few minutes later, the noises resumed, along with the accompanying feline interest.
Lesson learned in retrospect, #1: Assume that whatever is in the woodstove is not so big and evil that you need the services of your cats to help you dispense with it.
I opened the door of the stove, a second time. And out catapulted a small brown blur. Maggie was on it in a flash. NO NO NO! I grabbed her, she let go, a streak across the house, a blur of black cat, a second NO NO NO, grab, plop, !!! itâ€™s a bird! A tiny, tiny bird! On the floor, panting. I hollered for Kevin and dumped Maggie into his arms. I scooped up a terrified pile of soft feathers - long beak, brown eyes â€“ and scurried outside with it. It didnâ€™t resist me, but once I laid it down on a broad branch of the fringe tree outside the kitchen window, it started convulsing and panting.
I went back inside, figuring my presence was more of a stress than a help. But twenty minutes later it hadnâ€™t left. And it was starting to rain. I called our countyâ€™s designated wildlife rehabber, but she wasnâ€™t home. I called where she works (an environmental education center) and a staffer gave me pointers. I assembled a shoe box with a bath towel and hot water bottle, and headed out in the drizzle to scoop up the puffball, who was looking a little bedraggled by now.
Five minutes later, it was dead.
Heavy, heavy sigh.