Sunday, April 5, 2009

Laura's Basement Aviary Continues to Be the Hot Spot for Starlings in the Know

I believe that I once promised to faithfully update on any bird-related drama chez Laura. New to the ongoing tale of Laura and the birds? Merely gone numbly blank after my latest retelling? Let me start at the beginning.

One morning about a year ago, I was going about my business, puttering, tidying up, making coffee, when I heard a skritching and scratching coming from my bathroom plumbing access panel. Naturally, I thought: cat! Until I discovered that the cat was likewise trying to find the source of the noise. So I decided to go Nancy Drew and suss out the source, in the floor/basement ceiling. Tromping down into the basement, flashlight in hand, I looked at the appropriate spot in the ceiling. I could still hear the skritching and while I craned around to get a better look, a beak, then a head popped out of a small hole in the ceiling plaster near some pipes. I screamed, ran, dug out my phone, and proceeded to call every. single. person. programmed in it. What do you do??! Call animal control? Get a sledge hammer and start cracking through plaster? Finally, my local friends K and M both agreed to come over and help me figure it out.

K arrived first, power tools in hand. She drilled a hole to make a bird-sized exit space near the pipe. Then, we took brooms, swatted the ceiling, flushed the bird out of the ceiling, then out of the basement and through the back door. M arrived in time to do a judicious search into the source of bird entry. He proclaimed himself mystified.

A dead bird or two in my basement later, and my father did some expert sealing up of my soffits. Nests? From which a bird might find himself dropping, Alice-in-Wonderland-like, into some strange realm? Seemed logical, and we figured problem solved.

However, after we did all of this, I scampered to do laundry and found yet another dead bird on the floor. Then, yesterday, I woke up to some wall noises. Again. Figuring sooner or later said bird would drop into the basement, I was unsurprised to find one flying around as I went down to find a piece of furniture. Calmly fetching a broom, I shooed it outside. Problem solved!

Except I went down later and was completely unnerved to find another goddamned bird in there. Same one back for another joyride? A different one who heard the vacation rumors? Shuddering and cursing (it's the element of surprise I can't stand), I set after him with my broom.

It's starting to feel like a Hitchcock movie in here, so if you have any theories, I'm all ears. On the other hand, if I fail to answer phones or show up for work, look for my pecked body in the basement.

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