There was a gentle breeze blowing through the trees outside the window. Crickets were chirping softly. The house was quiet. My phone was somewhere else. I thought to myself, “It’s finally going to happen. I can finally poop in peace.”
Half you are like, gross. The other half of you know exactly what I’m talking about, especially if you have kids. I’ve heard they’re almost as bad as cats.
Then BANG! BANG! BANG!
No, it wasn’t gunshots this time. My wife started beating on the door.
Our house was built in the ‘60s, which means it has an extremely small master bath. So there was only about a foot between her pounding fists and my face. It immediately shattered the tranquility.
She was breathing rapidly, crying and hysterically repeating: “I killed it. I killed it.”
My first thought was “Yes. Yes you did.”
I’ve been told I’m not the best at interpreting emotions, but eventually I sensed she was not celebrating a job well done. You know like when you nail a presentation at work and your co-worker says “man, you killed that.”
I thought she had squished one of our cats. They are always trying to escape through the front door and we are always shutting the door quickly to prevent them from realizing their freedom. That would have explained why at least one of them was not scratching at the door earlier.
Then I remembered our cats don’t do anything quietly, and up until her darkening the door, I hadn’t heard anything. Had she actually crushed one of cats, I’m sure it would’ve set off some dramatic sequence of events that – while it may have eventually ended in their death – it surely would not have been quiet, nor quick.
By the time I had come to this realization, and I mean we’re talking a couple seconds, Anna had already fled back to from whence she came and if I was going to get to the bottom of this mystery I would have to follow her. So, with a shot of adrenaline and more effort than I’d like to admit, I rose.
Unfortunately, I must have been sitting for a while because as I stood, I realized I could not feel my feet and I quickly face planted onto the floor.
If someone had an omniscient point of view of the situation they would’ve seen me falling flat on my face in the back of my house while my wife was running out of the front door hysterically saying “I killed it.”
Don’t fret, dear reader, I’m not dead. If you’ve read more than one of these columns, you know what Anna has to put up with. And, had she actually killed me, she would’ve been saying “I killed it” like the guy congratulating someone for a job well done, while celebrating like a young Hulk Hogan after WrestleMania.
I’m sure if you asked her she’d say she’d shed a tear, but we all know, and I don’t blame her. After using a cat tree to regain a vertical orientation and using the wall to keep said orientation, I started to make my way to the front of house.
I came around the corner and I could see through the storm door. Anna was looking around in the yard like someone who had lost the back of an earring. By this time, both cats had come out of their napping places to post up in front of the storm door, and they were watching the events unfold looking for an opportunity to escape.
I pushed past the cats, who looked at me like they were both going to write me a strongly-worded letter, and by the time I got outside Anna had calmed down.
That’s when I asked her what was going on. She said she was pouring some water into her ferns when she heard a screech and saw something fall out of the plant and go thud on the ground.
“OK, what was it and where is it?” I asked.
She could barely get out that it was a baby bird before she started tearing up again and she pointed to a dark lump on the ground.
This thing looked more like a cat toy than a bird. It was just a ball of feathers and it wasn’t moving.
So there I am, this 300-pound guy sneaking up on a baby bird in the middle of the night just waiting for someone to video it for the community watch Facebook group.
The closer I get, the more I crouch. Basically, at this point, there’s not much difference between me and puma. I didn’t know if this thing was still alive or not, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
Finally I pounce and scoop the bird into my hands and this thing loses its mind. Its beak is trying to drill through my fingers, its little talons are grabbing whatever it can.
Finally I get it cupped in my hands so it can’t see and it calms down.
It turns out there were three birds in that fern. I know this because after I spent 20 minutes trying wrangle the two that fell out of the nest, the third one decided to jump and make a break for it, too.
Before I get emails, no, if you touch a baby bird it does not mean the mother will abandon it. That’s a myth. Yes, it’s better to just leave them alone and let the mother get them back into the nest, but we have a neighborhood cat who loves to hunt in our yard.
The three in question grew quickly, as birds do, and flew the nest a few weeks later.
The moral of this story is clearly to lock the bedroom door in addition to the bathroom door.