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.
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)