Wednesday morning. June 17, 2015.
Uncle Merlin's having bird troubles again.
Last time it was woodpeckers. This morning it's bluebirds.
Well, a blue bird.
One got inside the house.
A bluebird? I asked doubtfully when he called in from his home north of Boston to report this latest avian adventure. Not a blue jay?
He was indignant.
No, not a blue jay. He knows what a blue jay looks like. A bluebird.
As in bluebird of happiness?
As in bluebird!
An Eastern Bluebird?
The Eastern Bluebird is the state bird of New York but they can be found all over the Northeast. I’ve spotted more in Pennsylvania than I have here. Can’t recall ever seeing one in Massachusetts but that’s just a matter of luck. They’re there. They just don’t spend much time in suburban neighborhoods. They like the woods and open fields. And orchards. Uncle Merlin doesn’t have an orchard.
It was blue. It was a bird. What else could it be?
Florida Scrub-Jay. Probably not one of those.
They live in Florida.
Don’t get cheeky.
Could be a nuthatch.
I don't think so.
Could be Bluebird then. Little blue bird with a white front and a red bib?
No. All blue.
Bright blue? Dark blue? Purpley blue?
What good are you then?
Question I ask myself every day.
What if I send you a picture?
You took one?
He's very bold.
He's still there?
I can't chase him out. He acts like he owns the place.
Does he? I was developing a suspicion. And he's blue?
Yes, he's still blue.
Blue, not gray?
I think I can tell the difference between blue and gray.
Because in a certain light, catbirds can look blue. Blue-ish. Kind of gun metal blue.
This one's definitely blue and he's not making catbird sounds.
Send the picture.
Ah ha, I said.
Ah ha what?
Know what that is?
You're supposed to tell me.
But it's blue.
Like I said. Trick of the light. Anyway, it looks gray in the picture.
There was a short silence during which I surmised he was studying the picture himself, deciding the bird did indeed look gray, and figuring out how not to admit I might be right that it was a catbird.
It's not meowing like a catbird.
They have other calls and they can be quiet. They’re thoughtful birds. Know how you can really tell it's a catbird though, besides the black cap, the shape of the bill, and the shape and length of the tail?
What you described. He's acting like he owns the place. That's how they are. They think we're trespassing. The ones living in our holly bushes routinely come sit on the porch railing when I'm out there and glare at me, like they're waiting for me to take the hint. How did he get in the house?
Art let him in.
Art the Wonder Dog?
Art opened the door for him, invited him in?
No. He couldn't make up his mind whether he wanted to be in or out so I left the porch door open for him and the bird flew in past him as he was standing in the doorway, half in and half out.
I see. It's Art's fault you left the door open.
What was I supposed to do, keep hopping up to run to the door every time he whined? Of course it was his fault. He knows it too. That's why he's hiding.
Under the porch. He won't come back in because he knows he's in trouble.
So you have a bird who won't go out and a dog who won't come in.
Life is one fresh hell after another, isn't it?
Goodbye. Gotta go. My mother 's calling.
Half hour later he called back.
The bluebird's gone.
Whatever. He let me pick him up and carry him outside.
I'm surprised. They can be bold but I never saw one that bold. Was he hurt?
He didn't appear to be. He flew right off when I set him down in the backyard.
Probably went to tell his friends about his visit. Make sure you keep the door closed or you'll have a whole family moving in.
Art come back in?
No. He's still under the porch. And I have to go to work. Evil little dog.
Another half hour went by before he called again.
You at work?
Still waiting for Art?
He came back in finally?
I might have been mistaken about where he was.
Oh? What makes you think that?
Well, I got tired of waiting for him so I went upstairs to start getting ready to go.
I found this.
He sent another picture.
Know what would have been great? I said.
If there'd been a catbird on the chair with him.
Haven't heard back from him.