Operation Rescue Tweety
By DARREN HANDSCHUH
One day my wife came charging into the house telling me I had to come with her – quickly.
A look of concern was on her face and I thought some tragedy had befallen one of the kids, our vehicles or the house itself.
Instead, sitting near a juniper on the ground, was a small, fluffy robin.
The bird was not quite old enough to fly and still had its baby feathers mixed with its adult feathers.
“Is that it? That’s the big emergency?”
“Yes. You have to do something.”
Looking under our van, I noticed at least six neighbourhood cats, all waiting intently for the right moment to pounce.
I said, “No problem. This will take care of itself.”
It was kind of creepy actually, kind of like a Hitchcock movie or something. The cats were just sitting, silently staring.
“We can’t let the cats get him. Do something,” was my wife’s plea.
“What do you want me to do? It’s the circle of life. The strong survive and the cats eat the tiny birds that fall out of the nests. Wait, let me get the video camera.”
After a stare from my wife that could freeze molten lava, I tried to formulate a plan.
I knew there was a nest in a large birch tree in our front yard. I assumed that’s where the little critter came from.
Problem was, it was about 10 metres in the air and as much as I would like to risk my life carrying a small bird to safety, I just didn’t feel like riding in an ambulance that day so I went on to plan B.
I didn’t even have a plan A, let alone B, but I stood there examining the situation looking like I was thinking hard to solve the problem when in reality I was thinking, “I wonder if I have a beer left in the fridge.”
After several minutes, I had to admit I did not know what to do and again suggested we grab the video camera and make our own survival-of-the-fittest nature documentary.
I would call it Cats Eat a Baby Robin.
Another icy stare later and it was back to planning the salvation of the beaked beast.
We had an old bird’s nest that came out of a tree I had cut down in the spring, so my wife decided I – notice she didn’t say she should – grab the bird, place it in the nest which will be placed in a bucket which will be hung from the tree.
OK, we have a plan.
Not wanting to get baby bird kudies all over me, I put on a pair of work gloves, put the nest in the bucket, hung the bucket on a tree branch and Operation Rescue Tweety Or I Will Have to Sleep in The Garage was well under way.
Just as I started to head toward the bird, my son’s cat came calmly strolling from the backyard, saw the little pre-dinner snack and pounced like the natural born killer he was.
He actually had the bird in his grip when my wife yelled at him to let go.
At least six adult robins took turns dive bombing the cat, but it was my wife running over to him that made him relinquish his version of dinner to go.
He looked at me with a what-is-that-all-about look and all I could do was shrug my shoulders. He then joined his compadres under the van and waited patiently.
By now there were about 349 cats surrounding my house.
The little bird had managed to hop under the juniper bush, which meant I had to get down on my knees to grab him.
The second I got even close to him, the robin Luftwaffe started their bombing runs again.
Fending off the frantic attack I carried the little bird to the ladder, climbed up to the bucket and placed him the nest – where he stayed for about two seconds.
I had not even started coming down the ladder and this feathered genius had already hopped out and landed on the ground.
This got the attention of the 1,436 cats that had now completely encircled my yard.
“That’s it, I’m getting the video camera. Could get You Tube going for me?”
The icy stare was gone, as my wife realized there was nothing we could do for the bird. Operation Rescue Tweety had failed.
We watched it sit on the grass for a second and then my wife insisted we grab our son’s cat so she could rest assured he was not the one to ‘do the deed.’
I gathered up the feline and we headed into the house as dusk settled over the land.
I do not know what happened to the bird (but I have a pretty good idea). The next morning it was gone and there were no feathers in the yard, so it may be escaped or something.
It could happen.
But fear not dear reader, the day was not a total bummer. I did in fact have a beer left in the fridge.