The Bird

August 13, 2003

I awakened to the pitter patter of something hopping about on my ceiling. The occasional flutter suggested a bird had gotten trapped in my trailer, jumping around between the Reflectix ceiling of my room and the tarp roof. I tried hearding him out for over two hours, opening the tarps on the end, shaking the ceiling, even tossing rocks on the roof at the opposite end from the opening. Nothing doing. He'd hop around on the ceiling and fly from rafter to rafter in the open area beyond my room; but would not drop down to where he could fly out the big gap I call a door.

[This was when the cabin on the flatbed trailer was little more than a frame covered with tarps. Later, I installed a real door, one with a large oval cut glass window. And real walls. Sadly, it all burned up in the Summit Fire, May 22, 2008.]

We both tired of it; so I made breakfast for myself and set some some sunflower seeds and a little bowl of water for him in the rafters. He stopped. I heard him pecking at seeds on the sunflower plate. We both had breakfast; though not in sight of each other.

I thought that before I left for shopping with Zebe, I ought to set another red water bowl down on the floor, so he might see that, drink, and maybe make sense of the huge opening where the rear wall of the trailer would eventually go. Then I heard him bang into the metal smokestack from the furnace. That gave me an idea.

After leaving the top of the furnace, the smokestack passes through a copper heat exchanger, the ceiling, and on through the tarps forming my roof via a metal spacer the size of a dinner plate. An identical spacer keeps the smokestack away from the Reflectix ceiling, though that one is not glued, but held against the rafters. There is a little gap between the plates and the smokestack, letting some sunlight in, and sometimes a little rain. He must have seen the sunlight in the gap. Lifting the ceiling away from the lower plate, I felt around there. Some of the silicon rubber gluing the roof plate to the outer tarp had become detached on the down-slope side; not enough to cause a major leak, but enough to stick a finger through.

I pulled the tarp away from the roof plate some more and jammed a vitamin bottle sideways between the tarp and the plate to keep it open. It formed two mouse sized gaps, one on each side of the bottle. He noticed it on his next round, but didn't seem up to crawling out through one of them.

Standing the bottle up on end widened the gap. I tapped the smokestack lightly. He came hopping by again. I heard a brief flutter of wings beating.

Some three hours after waking me up, he left!