First, some backstory: We have birds fly into our home. A lot. We always have, in every house in which we’ve lived, although not when we lived in apartments in New York. We have birds nest in our mailbox or our Christmas wreath, or fly in through a briefly opened door, or find their way in through the curtains. I have come to understand that most people do not have to catch or chase out upwards of a bird every few weeks from their house. But we do, several per month, more in the warm months.
The only time in our homeowning lives that this was not true was when we had Cosmo, our blue parakeet. Maybe the Bird Union saw that we were set, and so didn’t send a weekly representative? In fact it was during the Cosmo years that we had the most bird nests in the wreaths, or the shutters, or the mail basket.
Would anyone care to speculate as to why we attract birds in this way?
In any case, this was a particularly bird-heavy week. I chased one out on Tuesday. Andrew chased one out on Wednesday but said he heard one in my bedroom upstairs. Sure enough, when I got home from work I went upstairs and found a sweet fluffy brown bird hanging out in the doorway to Rob’s room. It let me get close but not close enough to catch; it didn’t seem particularly distressed by my presence. Eventually I chased it out into the hallway, and thence into the bathroom. I closed the door so it wouldn’t escape back into the hall, and then I opened the skylight to allow it fly out. A few years ago I removed the screen to the skylight for this very purpose. This bird didn’t seem in a great hurry to leave, and I had to encourage it up and out. I closed the skylight again and went downstairs.
An hour or so later, I had made a porcini linguine for my supper and sat down to eat it while I played a little Mah Jongg on my laptop and watched Big Bang Theory reruns (Chuck was in DC and Andrew was working at Brickyard). The volume was low on the tv, just background noise, really, to keep me company. As I began to play my computer game, I heard a bird twittering. In the room with me. I looked around, but couldn’t find it. I sat back down to my pasta and my Mah Jongg, and I heard the twittering again, along with a soft thunking noise. Oh, no. There must be a bird somehow trapped in the wall, or in the baseboard heater. When I got up and walked toward the wall, the tweeting would stop, as if the bird were afraid of me. It was only when I was sitting quietly at the kitchen island, eating and playing my game, that it felt safe enough to call out again.
I went to bed, hoping it would find its way out and be hanging out in the Great Room when I got up in the morning. It wasn’t, but I didn’t hear it either, so I assumed it had either found its way to freedom or died. When I sat down with my coffee, I heard the twittering start up again. I pulled all the furniture away from the wall, and started pulling the baseboard covers off, to see if I could find the poor little trapped bird. No luck, and this was a noisy process, so I stopped – I didn’t want to wake Andrew or scare the bird unnecessarily.
Chuck got home late last night, and we spent some time this morning sharing stories from our week apart and making plans for the weekend. I told him about the bird, and he agreed that we would need to do whatever we could to free it. And yet we didn’t hear it, even when we sat still for several minutes. Now, it must be dead.
This afternoon, after making Vietnamese chicken salad and chicken liver pate, and washing several loads of dishes, I sat down again at the computer with a well-deserved cup of tea, to play a few rounds of Mah Jongg. Suddenly I heard the twitter again!
I realized that each time I had heard the bird in the wall I was playing Mah Jongg. When I sped up my game play the bird twittered more frequently. When I slowed down my play, the bird tweeted less often. When I got up to investigate which part of the wall the twittering came from, it would stop. It started again when I sat down. Damn bird!
Have you guessed the conclusion yet?
My Macbook is connected to a bluetooth speaker, which sits on a table against that wall. Each time I clicked on a tile, there would be a very soft thunky noise. When I made a match, there would be a little tweety noise.
No bird in the wall!
I’d like to share with you the recipe for my spectacular porcini linguine, but the truth is that I didn’t create it. It was from a package, and it was amazing. If you ever find it in a market, buy it. I got mine from Fortuna Sausage & Italian Market in Manchester, VT. www.fortunasausage.com
One thought on “The Bird in the Wall”
Your paternal grandmother’s favorite name for someone she thought strange, or unconventional, or unpredictable was, “He’s a bird.” Maybe birds of a feather flock together?
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