Thursday, September 29, 2011

the story of mrs. feathersworth & ben the bird whisperer {also known as, that one day we saw caleb holding a dead bird & talking sweetly to it.}

this story dates back a few months, to when we were still living in our mold-infested house, and i was about 6 or 7 months pregnant, and we had a wreath on our door.....

and yes the wreath had been there since christmas, but it wasn't too christmas-y, and plus, i liked it.  

so there.  

can you tell i'm defensive?  

maybe that comes from one-too-many conversations with my lovely husband about how i should switch the wreath out for something more spring-esque and yet we did not have the budget for it.  so i had done some mind trickery on myself to convince myself that i did, in fact, love this christmas-y wreath enough that i wanted to see it year-round.  or something like that. 

moving on, ahem.

one day, after picking up caleb from school, we walked to the front door and i was nearly scalped by a crazy bird who flew out of this semi-christmas-y wreath.  i squealed and ushered the kids inside quickly before it came back and attempted another attack. 

at first i thought it was just a freak event, but soon realized i was wrong.  one day i came home to enormous sticks and twigs sticking out of the wreath at odd angles.  it had been windy that day so i assumed it had carried them into the wreath, so of course i pulled them out.  but the next day they were back.  then a couple of days went by, and i stood up on my tip toes to see that the insane bird had fashioned a full-blown bird's nest in our semi-christmas-y wreath! 

now, i'm all about the circle of life and was a little flattered that mama bird felt comfortable enough in our wreath, so i left it alone...which i now realize was a mistake.  because after mama bird set up camp on our front door, every time we walked in and out of it, we risked our lives, and so did anyone coming to visit us. 

after picking up caleb every day, i would hand him the keys to the front door while i got leah out of her carseat, and he knew to walk softly and crouch low.  he would quietly unlock the door and then run! into the house like his feet were on fire.  the only problem was, the fear of being attacked would become too much for him, and at the last second before crossing the threshold of the door he would let out a scream, which would send mama bird fluttering at top speed out of her nest, right as i came running for the door.  so then i would scream and duck down, run into the doorway with leah and slam! the door closed before she could come after us.  then the three of us would look at each other, eyes wide, panting and catching our breath as we tried to calm down, grateful we had made it through another day alive.

we were quite a scene, i'm sure. 

after the bird nearly coming into our house one day, i decided i'd had enough.  but i didn't know what to do about it.  by this point there were 3 or 4 eggs in the nest, and i was worried that if i moved it to a different location, mama bird would abandon her babies.

i started telling ben about my dilemma, explaining the bird dive-bombs and the nest with the eggs when he interrupted me by saying casually,

"oh, you mean mrs. feathersworth?"  he said back.

"who?"  i asked, starting to laugh.   

and then he got embarrassed.  which he should have, because had named a random bird living in our christmas-y wreath.

"uh, yeah.  she's been living there for a while.  i uh, knew about the nest,"  he stammered.

"wait, wait, wait....mrs. feathersworth?  you named her?  did i just step into an episode of mr. rogers?  are we on the set of mary poppins?"  i was cracking up. 

"okay, laugh it up," he said.  "but me and mrs. feathersworth are tight.  and the only reason she's dive-bombing you is because she's protecting her babies.  you'd do the same thing, you know."

"you're right.  if i was a bird, i would do exactly the same thing,"  i teased him.  "but seriously though, i'm not only worried about her eggs and the babies once they do hatch and if one of the babies falls out, i'm also worried about everyone that comes to the door who has to risk their lives to come in.  plus, what if one day she gets confused and flies into our house?  you know how i am in situations like that....i panic.  and run around and squeal a lot."

"oh, i don't think that will happen.  she's just as scared of you as you are of her,"  he said.  and started walking toward the door as he continued defending mrs. feathersworth.  "well, let's look and see if there's another place we can put her wreath without her freaking out and leaving her nest."

and he opened the door.

and as he opened it, mrs. feathersworth freaked out.  and flew in our house.

i kid you not.

so of course, i did what i do when i panic.  i started squealing.  and running around.  

which freaked out mrs. feathersworth even more, and she flew up the stairs, and landed on the railing of our second floor.

can you see her?  i was panicking when i took this, so i accidentally focused the lens in the wrong place. 


the door on the right of mrs. feathersworth was caleb's bedroom door, which was closed.  then on the left of her was the bathroom door, which was also closed.  but another door down, on the left, was the office door.  and it was open.  not only was it open, but the ceiling fan was going on high speed.  ben and i quickly did the math and knew that if she sensed us coming to get her out of the house, that was the only room she could fly into, and she could get hurt.

so we came up with a plan.  

i turned off the lights, and tried to sneak up the stairs to get to the office before she flew in there, and turn off the fan, while ben waited below in case she flew back down stairs.  i knew she was skittish and quite frankly, so was i, so it would be a miracle if i could make it happen, but i knew i needed to give it my best shot.  

it was mrs. feathersworth, for crying out loud!  ben's one and only [that i knew of}  ladybird friend!

i crawled slowly up the stairs, my heart pounding, trying not to squeal again.  i got to the top of the stairs.  now came the tricky part, where i needed to crawl past her down the hallway without her sensing me.

i got about halfway down the hallway when she noticed me and took off!  and of course, right into the office.

"RUN lynsey!"  ben yelled.

so 6 or 7 month bellied me ran down the hallway and hit the switch for the fan and turned it off.  but i was too late, and mrs. feathersworth was fluttering around.  i heard a little ping!  and then a small chirp!  and i knew she'd been hit.

i covered my eyes and yelled for ben to get up here!  i think she's dead!

so he came running up while i looked away and waited for him to pronounce her dead on arrival....but instead he said, 

"she's okay!  i think.  she's really scared though."

i peeked through my fingers covering my eyes and saw her sitting on the floor of our office, and could see her little chest puffing up and down really quickly.

"what are we going to do now?"  i asked ben.

so ben crouched down on the floor, held out his hands and started talking softly to her.
"it's okay, it's okay.  come on,"  he coached her.

and i smiled and thought that it was sweet that he thought he could actually pick up a bird who was as freaked out as mrs. feathersworth.

then....before i knew it, what in the spoon full of sugar! she was in his hands!  i couldn't believe it.  my mouth was literally hanging open as i snapped pictures.

she fluttered around a little and ben kept trying to calm her down by talking softly to her.  he got to the front door, and carefully placed her back in her nest.  and there she sat.

"you're a bird whisperer!"  i said proudly, in a whisper-voice.  and then i apologized for teasing him earlier.

we talked about what we should do, and obviously we needed to move her, because that could never happen twice.

first we moved the wreath to the side of our door, a little lower than it had normally been. 

but ben was worried that if the nest was lower, cats could get to it.  so he grabbed nails and a hammer, stood up on a chair, and literally hung the nest up in the corner of our doorway.  mrs. feathersworth sat quietly in the christmas-y wreath the whole time.  i was amazed.

"she's still going to dive-bomb us,"  i said, and spoke in a whisper-voice in case mrs. feathersworth decided to get crazy again.

"well, it's going to have to work for now.  at least her babies will be safe, and once they hatch then we can figure out what to do,"  ben said.

and after what happened tonight, watching him coax a frightened and in my opinion, sort of insane bird into his hands, and even though i thought that the christmas-y wreath now looked all sorts of ridiculous...i decided to trust him.

days went by, and mrs. feathersworth seemed content.  even though this sounds crazy, i swear her demeanor toward us changed.  she didn't seem as frantic as she initially had.  there were even times when she actually stayed in her nest as we came in and out of the house, without flying away.

now we get to the really fun part of the story.

it had been a couple of weeks since the incident of ben the bird whisperer.

caleb loved mrs. feathersworth.  in a fearful way, like his gut told him that at any moment she could turn on him and peck his eyes out, but still.  whenever he walked through the doorway he would duck his head and run through while simultaneously yelling hello, mrs. feathersworth! to her.  he was constantly asking me when her babies were going to be born, and i promised him that when they were, we would lift him up so that he could see them.

finally the day came that we heard little chirps coming from the nest and sure enough....there they were.

caleb loved them, and would tell his friends about them when they would come over to play.  i literally think that he thought they were going to become his pets when they got older.  

one day after school, we looked up on the internet how long baby birds leave the nest. {about 14 days to hatch, and then about 14 days after they hatch to leave the nest, FYI}  we started talking about mrs. feathersworth, and as i counted up the time that had passed since we first saw the baby birds, i realized that the birds had probably already left the nest.

i peeked in the nest, and sure enough, it was empty.  

caleb was devastated.

he carried on and on about how he would never get to see mrs. feathersworth's birds again and how sad he was.  to try to distract him, i showed him the pictures of when she had flown into the house and ben had gently carried her out to safety.  he was amazed, and so proud of his dad, and stared at each picture intently.  

cut to that weekend, ben was outside mowing the front lawn.  caleb was in the backyard, doing one of his saturday chores of cleaning up all of the backyard toys.  i noticed it was taking him a while longer than usual, but didn't say anything.

about a half an hour later, ben came through the back door with a weird look on his face.

"now, don't freak out,"  he said warningly.

"what is it???"  i replied shrilly, of course freaking out.

"welllll, i went into the back yard to mow the lawn, and saw caleb back there.  i noticed he had something in his hands, and i could hear him talking softly to it.  so i asked him what he had, and he held up a dead bird in his hands.  he thought it was alive, and sleeping or something, and told me he was carrying it just like he had seen me do with mrs. feathersworth in the pictures."

"OH. MY. GOSH. THATISSODISGUSTING!"  i yelled, not sure whether to throw up or laugh.  the scene from dumb and dumber flashed through my mind. { 'pretty bird...pretty bird'...}

"i know!  i didn't have the heart to tell him it was dead.  so i asked him to give it to me so that i could take care of it and put it back with its family.  then when he wasn't looking, i threw it in the garbage can, and then told him that even though he saw me do it, it wasn't a good idea to pick up birds that were laying on the ground.  then we both washed our hands for like 10 minutes."

ben and i looked at each other, both said a couple of "EW!'s" and then laughed hysterically.

when we moved from the moldy house, i didn't know what to do with the christmas-y wreath.  it had the empty nest still in it, so finally i decided to just throw it away.

i am now on the search for a wreath that is more year-round friendly, and one that preferably doesn't attract birds.

on another note, if anyone is in need of a bird whisperer....and his eager-to-learn-the-bird-whispering-trade son.....let me know.


Rachel Holloway said...

that would COMPLETELY freak me out! But it's oh, so funny at the same time. I'll tell ya. Those birds set up shop and it's over for whoever lives around. A year or two ago, my parents had a bird set up shop in their barbecue grill--so when summer came and they were ready to grill, they couldn't! Had to wait for those birds to hatch and leave. It was a long, long summer! lol

Jessica Marie said...

That is an awesome story.

Aubrey and Jardan said...

Oh my gosh Lynsey! Thank you for that, I couldn't stop laughing! So disturbing.

ohmylanta said...