My four-year-old had a friend over to play this afternoon. As her mom and I were chatting, the little girl came over and asked me, pointing to the fireplace, "Is that your bird in there?"
Both of my pet birds were safe in their cages. I gave the little girl an indulgent smile, "What bird?"
She pointed at the fireplace again. I tried to see what it was that might look like a bird to her. The huge terra-cotta pot packed with dried coriander stems? No. The logs in the fireplace?
I peered into the darkness behind the smoke-stained glass. Something blinked at me.
"There's a pigeon in there!"
A gorgeous, green, purple, and grey bird perched on top of the logs, cool as anything--like he owned the place. He must have flown down the chimney. It was so dark in there I never would have seen him if my son's little friend hadn't pointed him out.
After I took a picture, I went out to the garage to get a pair of gloves. I thought catching the bird would be easy. The fireplace was small, the pigeon looked calm, and I have a way with birds. "Hey, baby, it's okay, I'm going to take you outside now," I cooed as I pulled aside the metal screen.
The pigeon did not know what was good for him. He flapped around the fireplace, sending clouds of stinging ash into my face. I tried to do it gracefully at first, but after a while I just grabbed at whatever presented itself - feet, tail feathers, wings. At last I got a grip on something, then took him between my hands and pulled him out into the room. He kept his wings spread--beautiful feathers! I could feel his heart beating fast.
I carried him out the back door, opened my hands, and let him fly away. It's a good thing someone noticed him - he was in serious danger of starving to death before anyone saw him. Now I just have to clean up all the ash on the carpet.