Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wrong Turn!

Springtime always brings the Swallow population of the entire world to Alaska, where the little gray birds swoop and dive after the world's entire population of skeeters. Bug reduction is always welcomed in Alaska, however small, so we don't mind their frantic aerial ballet. But, they also need places to live, and this is where the Swallow seems to be a bit un-welcome.

The Swallow in the picture made a little mistake. All afternoon on Thursday I had been a bit puzzled at the dog's behavior. He seemed enamored by the glass door to the woodstove, putting his paws up on the raised hearth and sticking his nose to the door, tail wagging. No barking, none of his usual frenzy when he sees something he wants to play with, so I figured maybe he had discovered his own reflection in the glass.

When I would appear around the corner, Jasper would slink down to the rug and look at me with the guilt only a dog can muster. But I could see no evidence of bad doggie behavior, so I left him alone.

Finally, on about the fifth trip past the stove, with the dog this time poking his paw up on the door, I decided maybe a look through the glass might not be a bad idea. And there sat the bird, wings askew, sitting among a pile of old bills and bank statements.

The neighbor, a bird owner, was reluctant to help me, as she does not know anything about birds that do not walk right onto a finger when the cage door is opened. Darn.

I called our friend the Bird Biologist, who, although suffering from an overdose of her migraine medicine, said she would be right over. Jasper and I, and now Bear, who couldn't figure out why mommy put a bird in the stove, sat like we were in front of the television and watched the Swallow, who watched us back.

I have to admit, the little thing was calm as a cucumber, never beating her wings or pecking at us, or even attempting to make her way back up the pipe. It was as if she knew she was in a pickle and was resigned to whatever the outcome.

Heroine BB came made it to our house, laughed when she saw the predicament, and proceeded to open the door, stick her hand around the bird, and bundle her out. Quickly checking for broken wings or neck trauma, she found none and took bad birdie to the deck, where she let her get her bearings a second and then tossed her in the air.

Birdie flew a but unevenly at first, then swooped around and headed directly South.

Back to San Juan Capistrano, I imagine.

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