Saturday, August 1, 2009

My worst Bird fear came true!

No, not Charlie "Bird" Parker, silly. What? Can you hear my jazz music in the background. I'm listening to Miles playing Bitches Brew. Listen to the opening chords. What does it remind you of? How about the call of the hounds?

So. I'm getting my house ready for the wedding guests. I am excruciatingly selfish about being inconvenienced but signed up for 2 families to stay with me for the wedding. I hired a cleaning lady to clean off my hideously filthy back porch. She uses products to clean with. I would've washed everything with Dawn dishwashing liquid and guess what? Nothing would have come off. That woman scrubbed for three whole hours and did a wonderful job. Ah-choo! Those products caused me to sneeze.

I asked her, By chance dyou know anybody who needs a room air-conditioner. I have 3 of them but have subsequently gotten central air.

Next day she calls me and says her mom is desperately hot in this summer weather. Can she pick up the a/c's?

Sure, I say. I don't charge her cuz I just wanna get rid of em.

An hour ago this Saturday a man arrives to pick up the bedroom a/c. I tell him there's a bird's nest inside, I hope it doesn't cause any trouble.

Oh, I'm used to things like this, he says. No problem.

He's a union painter from the city. Working overtime on Saturday.

Scott says, I'm glad to hear you're union.

They unscrew the air-conditioner. Straw from the bird's nest is visible from my bedroom window. My fear of course is my house will be filled with flying panicking sparrows.

Mike the painter says, I'll just pull out the air conditioner and put it on my shoulders.

He's one of those men who looks very strong.

I lead him out of the bedroom and down the stairs telling him to watch his step. We get it out to his van and then I hear Scott yelling.

Ruth, get a broom!

I run in the house.

There's a baby bird on the floor, he says. I go in the kitchen and stand there dazed. I don't know what to do, I say to myself.

I grab the broom and then the smaller whisk broom and dustpan and run upstairs.

No noise in the bedroom.

Where is he? I ask.

He's under the foam, says Scott. He's terrified.

Scott scoops him up into the dustpan. I expected to see a naked baby bird but no, he was a fledgling, with smooth brown feathers, and a bright orange beak.

Scott brings him downstairs and outside.

Keep him near the window, I say.

Lucky for the baby bird, I have an extra robin's nest I keep on the backporch. We scoop up the bird and place the sparrow in the robin's nest. We put it in a bush.

Then I go and call Carolyn, my naturalist friend who tells me what to do.

Do nothing. Don't attempt to feed him. He will probly not survive, she says, so don't be disappointed. This is why birds have so many babies she says.

There is a great chattering of birds out in my sideyard. Sparrows all. Are they discussing the fate of the baby bird? Will mom return?

Carolyn tells me that whatever happens the bird will be part of the food chain for other animals. When he's dead he will keep another animal alive.

Oh, if only you could see him, those feathers breathing in and out, in and out, in total silence.


  1. Blogger Stephen wrote a GREAT comment:
    Although to some degree inexplicable, I love reading your blog. Mailman Bob, your non-potato potato salad, the terrific poem about rain, wrapping cash in a SEPTA work order form, the poetry consultant, the disappearing car, arm excercises… Great stuff!


  2. hey stephen of stephen views the news (i can't do links on the comment page or i'd link you), i can only be true to myself. other people said to me, how can you call it Potato Salad without the potatoes. Well, to me, that's what it is. you GET it! well, mostly. your comment about some of my stuff being inexplicable, well, i guess that's just a case of other people always remaining a mystery. even to ourselves we're a mystery, wouldn't you say? until next time....