Inside My Window

House sparrow (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

July 3, 2012 at WQED:

Yesterday morning I got a call from the Business Office, “There’s a bird in Payroll.  Can you come down?”

I grabbed my bird rescue towel (nothing special, just a bath towel) and headed for Lindy Mason’s office.  Someone had probably left the loading dock door open and a bird got in.  Once inside, birds always fly through the open concourse to the third floor lights and windows and are stuck upstairs without an exit.

I expected to find a song sparrow, easy to catch because they doggedly stay by the window, but when I closed Lindy’s door to contain the action I was surprised to find a male house sparrow and he had some tricks up his sleeve.

For starters he was fast.  Like a house fly, he waited until I got close then darted away.

Worse, he hid.  While my back was turned he zipped into Lindy’s shelving and hunkered down like a mouse.  Silence.

It dawned on me that because house sparrows are cavity nesters they feel right at home in small dark spaces.  This was not going to be an easy rescue.

To give you an idea of the challenge I took some pictures. Here’s where he was, hidden in the back right corner of the bottom filing tray.  It should have been easy to see a bird in there. Not!  It was dark and he was dark.

He hid in the lowest filing tray

After moving the tape dispenser, file folders, and books (not in the picture) I located him. And he escaped!!  I couldn’t find him anywhere.  Aaarg!!

Lindy came in to help me take her office apart.  We closed drawers, cleared the floor and moved the trash can up to the window ledge.

I finally found him in a very dark corner on the floor.  He flew again, darting back and forth (lots of shouting!) and then a miracle.  He fluttered at the window and dropped into the trash can to hide.

I was laughing so hard I couldn’t believe our luck.  He was hiding in something I could carry!

I checked to make sure he was in the bag among the trash.  He’s not in this picture but he was unbelievably hard to see in the folds of the liner bag.  I draped the bird towel over the trash can and took my bundle to the loading dock.

The loading dock door was closed.  The bird flew free and didn’t come back.

Everyone’s happy that the bird is outside our windows now.

(photo of a house sparrow in France by Pierre Selim on Wikimedia Commons. Click on the caption to see the original.  Remaining photos by Kate St. John)

7 thoughts on “Inside My Window

  1. Can you imagine this little guy’s story when he got back together with his friends? Thanks for a great start to the day, Kate.

  2. We used to keep a very fine grained fishing net with a long handle for catching escapee birds. You don’t have to get so close, and once they are in the net they generally go limp. You can then close off the open end of the net, and carefully transport the bird to its proper enclosure or outside as the case may be.

    Might be worth the investment if this happens enough that you have a bird rescue towel.

    It was very nice of the little guy to hide in the trash!

    1. Great idea! Actually it’s a triple purpose towel. 1. Original purpose was for rescuing injured peregrines. Sadly they are rarely just injured. They are usually dead & I don’t need the towel to quiet them. 2. When clean, I use it to take a shower at work though I rarely do this now. (Worth it when I need it.) 3. Finally I use it to rescue other wayward birds like the house sparrow.

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