And, no, it is not a turkey. These words were spoken to me by my daughter, Zeneba, when she and her husband, Matt, called us this morning on a Thanksgiving call from Soriano, Italy. She said them to me after I was telling her the following story on that phone call.
The encounter with the bird we were trying to catch happened on Thanksgiving Eve. I was sitting in our living room working on a crossword puzzle and I noticed our cat, Phantom, trotting into the room from the kitchen. I recognized this trot as his hunting trot, and sure enough, he was holding something in his mouth. Every other time he has done this in the house it meant he was either holding a mouse or a cricket that he had captured in our mudroom behind the kitchen. The mudroom is where he was that night (he was not outside), and he had been sitting on a small table looking out into the yard. He loves to do this and it helps him keep track of the possums and squirrels he sees out there.
I quickly got up from my chair to get a container so that I could take the mouse from Phantom and escort the mouse to safety outside. Phantom has never killed a mouse. He likes to bring them into the living room, release them from his mouth, and then chase them around the furniture. When I reached down to make him release what I thought was a mouse I was surprised to see that it was a Carolina Wren! Phantom had to have caught him in the mudroom, and I have no idea how the Wren got inside the house, but he had and now he was Phantom’s prey.
I got the Wren released and grabbed Phantom to keep him from chasing the bird. The bird escaped into the mudroom and by this time another one of our cats, Beru, noticed the excitement and I had to block cats from going into the mudroom.
For the next 90 minutes I tried to catch the Wren to no avail. He was too fast for me. Our mudroom is cluttered with recycle bins, cardboard boxes, garden supplies, and shelving so there were a lot of places to hide. I only had some garden cloth that I tried to drape over the bird, but he managed to elude me at every turn. When Carol arrived home I called out to her that I needed help right away. I am sure she thought there was something wrong with me and I did not give much thought to any stress I might be causing her, but, hey, there was a bird to catch. We both tried to catch him and had no success. We finally decided that we would put some water and some sunflower seeds in the mudroom, close the door, and turn out the lights. We would try to catch him in the morning and then take him to the wildlife center where we volunteer and have him checked out for any injuries.
The next morning was Thanksgiving and we decided to drive out to the wildlife center and get a net that we use to capture birds that have escaped in the center. On the way home we also stopped to buy some blueberries and wild bird seed for the Wren.
Sad to say, when we got back and searched the mudroom we found that the Wren had died. I will take him to the wildlife center to see if we can determine if he was injured or just died from stress.
There are some things to be thankful for because of this story. I am thankful that I have a partner, Carol, who shares my concern for wildlife and is willing to drive for miles to get a net, some blueberries, and some wild bird seed. I am thankful that Zen and Matt are doing well in beginning their lives in Italy and that they were able to call us with Thanksgiving greetings.
I do hope that all of you have an enjoyable and gracious Thanksgiving.