The following Monday I went to work with nothing but the tasks at hand on my mind and there in my department, perching proud on top of a sign, was the little bird. Astounded that he was still alive and appalled and feeling guilty that I had forgotten about him, I got a bowl of water and a bag of wheat-chips from the vending machine in the employee lounge. Placing them at the top of the highest empty fixture, I hoped he’d find them before the store opened in two hours and I’d have to put them away. The little guy was skittish, he never found the food and water.
Years ago, in an East Lyme apartment, when my husband and I removed the fire screen from our woodstove to clean out cold ashes, a bird flew into the room. Because the stove pipe vented directly to the outside it wasn’t unusual during warmer months for a bird to flutter down the pipe and end up staring at us from inside the screen.
We spent over an hour trying to catch the terrified bird. We tried everything from using a broom to shoo him toward the door, to scooping with a long handled fish net. Finally I found a piece of decorative netting and tossed it like a Third World fishermen casting a net. Got ‘em.
The terrified little bird’s heart raced against my palms as I took him to the open slider by the deck. Triumphantly I opened my hands while gently tossing the scared little guy to freedom. He flapped up against the overhang of the deck and flew right back into the apartment. It took us another 15 minutes, and few more casts, to catch him again.
There would be no net casting for our little friend high in the rafters of the store. If he didn’t eat and drink we all knew he’d die. Once the store opened I removed the food and water. With a handful of crumbled chips I made a Hansel and Gretel crumb trail leading out the automatic in-and-out doors which we paused open. Customers were coming and going so for our little bird to find the food, and be lured outside by our cleverness, we figured it was pretty unlikely.
Ten minutes later I announced over the loud speakers to concerned customers and staff, “Elvis has left the building.”
Cheers echoed in the rafters.