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Blackbird Blues

by Susan Zeigler, Des Moines, IA, USA


We lived safe in the mountains of Colorado where there were no bugs. I'd leave the door cracked so Onyx could come and go as he pleased during the day while I was at work.

One day, I got a call from a friend wanting to borrow my vacuum cleaner. His girlfriend was coming for a visit and his had broken. We arranged for him to pick it up at lunch time.

We met at the designated time and entered through the patio door--only to be greeted by feathers flying everywhere. Black feathers. Only feathers. No bird. Kitty sitting on the kitchen floor.

I looked around briefly. Chris asked if Onyx had ripped apart a pillow.

"Oh no, there was a bird attached to these feathers."

I did a further inspection. No bird. No noise.

"You know, he won't eat the head, it's probably around here somewhere" Chris politely warned me (he was a dog person and greatly disliked cats).

"Thanks." I glared at him.

I went to the closet to retrieve the vacuum, which I obviously now needed to use myself. Tiptoeing along, looking down. But still only feathers, and they were everywhere--how many feathers does a bird have??

I brought the vacuum out for Chris and we talked for a minute. Kitty was now on the counter (where he's not supposed to be). I yelled for him to get off, but he was staring intently at the refrigerator. "I'll feed you in a minute, now get down."

"Eaowwwwww, eaoowwwww, eaaooow." The "machine gun chatter meow" started. I stopped mid-sentence.

"That bird's still in here," I said.

We both followed kitty's line of site. There sitting on top of a box of cereal on top of the refrigerator was a black bird. I tried to shoo kitty off the counter--he didn't want to budge. Finally, after pushing and pulling, I finally just picked him up. Body twisting and paws flailing, I tossed him in the bedroom and closed the door.

The bird did not appear hurt. It also didn't look very big--where had all those feathers come from?? It didn't look lke he was missing any. I opened the patio door wide open. The thought was to tap the box and hopefully he'd fly out. Chris had had birds before and was going to be the shoo-er while I'd be ready to close the door behind it. Then we looked more closely at the bird.

"That is the sharpest beak I've ever seen," he said. "It looks like a needle and a razor in one." We debated leaving the bird where it was.

Finally, on three, Chris pushed the box. The bird took flight. He ducked. I ducked. The bird flew.

It landed on the counter three feet away. As we were standing up to try again, the bird suddenly launched and we both dove to the floor as though we'd heard gunshots.

The bird flew gracefully outside--his wing-span revealing he was much larger than we had thought. Chris escaped with the vacuum and politely asked if he could just bring it by my office when he returned it.

I'm still trying to figure out how Onyx got that bird inside. The sliding door was only cracked a few inches--barely wide enough for him to squeeze through by himself--and it must have been fighting all the way. Needless to say, when I opened the bedroom door, Onyx went running into the kitchen.

After a thorough inspection revealed that the bird was gone, I got very annoyed glares for quite a while. "Why is it you get to choose your lunch but I can't?" or "I caught it, at least you could have shared."


Editor's note: :(


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