When I came home from dropping the tot off at day care, the bag of cat litter refuse was still waiting inside the garage to be taken to the dumpster, so I took it out. By then, however, it was too late and the garage was filled with mid-morning heat and the aroma of used cat litter.
[inhale] Aahhhhh, used cat litter… [exhale]
I decided, quite reasonably I think, to leave the garage open to air out for about an hour. Then I promptly forgot that I left it open, went on about my day, and discovered it still open when I prepared to go pick the tot up from day care.
And what else do you think I discovered there?
Well, not this one in particular, but a small juvenile, male Downy Woodpecker.
He was clinging to the chain that holds the fluorescent light up above the work bench. When he saw me, he panicked. He launched and flew in spastic bursts through the garage, and each time he passed the open garage door, he flew up instead of down, so he never saw the 2-car-wide exit.
I was worried for him, but I had to leave, so I secured permission from the Husband Guy to leave the garage door open while I went to pick up the tot. (We have goodies in our garage, which can be seen from the street.) Then I left, wracking my brain the entire drive to figure out how to make the woodpecker fly low enough to see his freedom.
Let me take this opportunity to say this: I love birds – the wild kind, not the caged kind. Well, I love those too, but I don’t choose to own caged birds. I’m especially fond of:
the pretty ones
the ones that eat the bugs in my lawn (You’re welcome any time, robins!)
clinging birds, like nuthatches and woodpeckers
other birds that are pretty
the ones that come to my feeder, especially in the winter
and so on
As such, I did not want this bird to die in my garage.
I decided that I needed some kind of net, so on the way home, I dragged a tot who had been freshly awakened from a deep nap* through a pet store and a hardware store. The hardware store was where we found a butterfly net (Yay!) and experienced a meltdown (Boo!). Poor tot. She just couldn’t handle the being commanded, the being urged to hurry up, the being required to do all this in the heat and without the being carried.
When I realized I was being sharp with her for no reason that involved her, I squatted down and explained.
“Honey, there is a bird at home in our garage and he’s stuck. He wants to go home to his mommy and daddy, but he needs help. He needs our help, so we have to hurry,” I said.
She looked at me, sniffled a bit, and asked, “What’s his name?”
I don’t know what I expected her to say, but I assure you, that wasn’t it.
“I don’t know his name,” I told her. “He’s a woodpecker and he’s little and he needs our help with this net. Do you think we can hurry home to help Daddy help the bird?” She agreed and we were on our way – no more fussing.
In the end, the net worked. HG had come home and tried unsuccessfully to get it to fly out of the garage. This tired it out enough that he was able to kind of scoop it and escort the little guy outside. I do hope he’s okay, and since then I have seen Downys on the feeder, so I think he probably is just fine.
*Unless you want to listen to whining and be subjected to clinging, this is not a time you want to spend doing anything with the tot, let alone dragging her in and out of a vehicle and through stores.