Posts Tagged ‘cardinal’

Good Intentions

Friday, October 5th, 2012

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It Seemed Like A

Good Idea At The Time

I’m a big ol’ softy when it comes to animals, especially hurt animals. That awful ASPCA commercial on television that uses the Sarah McGlaughlin song, Angel, just sends me into sobs and now, I just have to turn the channel at the first strains of the song. Dump a dog and I’ll hunt you down. Bugs and snakes, I could care less about, but birds and mammals hit my tender spot.

And so, this morning, as I was preparing to leave the house for the day, that instinct kicked in. I heard Mr. Fix-It come back in the front door after I thought he had left for work. “There’s a hurt cardinal in the flower bed. He must have hit the window,” he said matter-of-factly. Actually, Mr. Fix-It wasn’t expecting for me to do anything about it. He was just informing me in the same manner that he would tell me that the UPS truck had just driven up. He headed back out of the door, hopped into the car and was gone.

I, of course, went out to check on our feathered friend. My heart broke to see this gorgeous, male cardinal flopping around under a rose bush, wing dragging, and obviously broken, and mouth open in a pant. I had to do something!! And so, I went into the house, slipped on my pair of leather gardening gloves and went back out to retrieve my patient.

I have this bad habit of acting before I think, and this time was no different. I tried to gently capture the bird, but he dove farther into the rose bush. I managed to finally grab him with one hand and he let out a squawk that so surprised me that I nearly dropped him. He grabbed a gloved finger of my other hand and bit down for all he was worth. He would not let go. I stood in the garden, unable to free my hand, unwilling to turn him loose from the other hand’s grip, and contemplating the fact that I had not made preparations for this invalid in the way of a “hospital” setting. I stayed stock still in an attempt to keep the bird calm and for me to decide what to do. Mr. Cardinal let out another squawk which released my finger. Then he looked at me, calmly, with the biggest, blackest, most unsettling eye as if to say, “OK, dummy. What’s your big plan?”

I opened the front door with my free hand and wandered around the house, carrying the bird and trying to be creative. I thought of our pet carrier, but thought the cat smells might upset the birdie. “I tawt I taw a pootie tat.” I spotted a couple of laundry baskets and a brilliant idea formed in my pea brain. With my one hand, I grabbed newsprint and lined one basket with the newsprint. Dragging the basket into the front guest bedroom, I situated it in a draft free location and went to retrieve the second basket. And of course, Mr. Cardinal was still trapped in my left hand, being whisked from room to room in my frenzy to solve my problem.

I grabbed a small bowl and filled it with water, went to the garage and got cardinal food with whole sunflowers and then placed the water and the food into the floor of the papered basket. I gently placed the bird onto the floor of the basket and quickly put the second basket upside down on top of the first basket. Mr. Cardinal just sat on the paper and stared at me. It was then that I remembered my suet that I had made and proudly announced to the stricken bird that he was in luck. I grabbed some of the suet from the frig and shoved it through a slat in the laundry basket right in front of the cardinal. I shut the door to the bedroom to protect the bird against our aging, but agile, Mr. Sway Cat.


As you can see, Sway looks rather devious. I call this photo of him, “Bag O’ Cat.

I had to get on my way and so I decided that I would call an animal rescue mission near us and see if I could bring the bird by later in the day. In the meantime, I would text my friend down the road to see if she might have a bird cage. Feeling rather proud of myself, I took off to accomplish my various required journeys.

It was around 1:30 in the afternoon when Mr. Fix-It called me to let me know he had gotten home early. I told him about my brilliant accommodations for the bird and I explained that he could not open the door or leave the door open to the bedroom because of the cat. I neglected to tell Mr. Fix-It that I wanted to take pictures of my friend before I took him to the shelter. A few minutes after this conversation, my phone rang again and it was Mr. Fix-It. He nearly screamed, “There’s a cardinal flying around the bedroom!!!” I told him to shut the door so the cat wouldn’t get it. He seemed to think that was a little condescending for me to think I would need to tell him that! And then he said, “Now he’s perched on top of the curtain rods of the window! He’s going to mess on everything!!” I asked Mr. Fix-It, rather incredulously, if the bird was actually flying. I got a very curt “of course…how do you think he got onto the curtain rod??” I then asked Mr. Fix-It if he had taken the top laundry basket off of the bottom one. I was definitely NOT making any Brownie points with him at this point. He said that he had opened the door to the room and that the bird had already escaped. It was my fault. I hadn’t tied the baskets together. I guess cardinals are strong little suckers. And I guess this cardinal didn’t have a broken wing after all. He had just been stunned.

I told Mr. Fix-It to just wait until I got there and that we would figure something out. I was mentally visualizing a butterfly or fishing net, neither of which we own. My hubby wasn’t too happy. I could just see him standing in the room next to the antique 4-poster bed, ducking each time the red bird dive bombed him. And he couldn’t open the door to leave because..well, yes…because of the cat. Of course, my blogger brain was calculating, “I’ll take a picture of the cardinal on the curtains, for the blog, and THEN we’ll catch him. I kind of giggled, because I was certain that the distinctive cardinal ‘peep peep’ was being aimed at my husband and that the cat was probably outside the door in a fury. Poor Mr. Fix-It.

However, I don’t give my husband enough credit. Before I ever reached the front door, Mr. Fix-It had managed to get the window open and the screen removed so that Mr. Cardinal ‘flew the coop’ without so much as an ‘au revoir’. I got no picture – just bird poop on the carpet, the comforter, the curtains and the window table, bird seed scattered all over the carpet and a soggy mess of water and newsprint in the bottom of my laundry basket. But, yay for the bird. He’s off somewhere happily reunited with his wife and hopefully a little wiser about big windows.


We have multiple feeders and cardinals keep us entertained all winter long. We have tons of them and I seem to be most enamored with their beautiful red and black coloring.

Even in ice storms, the cardinals hang around our place because there is plenty of food.

I know they say that hell is paved with good intentions, but this time, I like to think that I gave that bird some R & R so that he could gather his wits before a dog or cat got him. At least he lived to fly another day!!

Happy Bird Watching!

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