Let me start by explaining something. When I went to Hawaii, Linda house sat for me. She still does not have a permanent home, so where she goes, her cage of finches goes. Occasionally she house sits where people don't want birds, so she usually leaves them at her studio and shop. When I returned she was preparing to go to visit her parents for a couple weeks, and I asked if she wanted to leave the finches here with me. She was delighted because she had not made arrangements for their care. So our two birdcages, mine with five finches and hers with two, sat side by side.
When Linda came back, she asked if she could just leave them here temporarily. Sure, that is fine with me. Linda's little babies have been here now over two months. They are right at home. The chatter and singing that goes on back and forth between the cages is fun to hear. Last night I was chuckling at Linda's two little guys who were in their nest, popping in and out and bobbing their heads up and down. They were very cute.
So this morning I woke, got a cup of coffee and went back to bed to cuddle with the pups for a while. While I was there, I decided that I needed to clean both birdcages. They really needed it. When I got up, I went about my regular routine, raising blinds, opening dog doors and uncovering the birdcages. When I pulled off the covers, I chatted with them as I always do, and then I noticed that I could see only one of Linda's little birds. Oh no, there on the bottom of the cage was the little female! I felt awful! I know I did nothing wrong, but I just hate that she died "on my watch."
I called Linda and gave her the bad news. She was sorta OK. I mean, with little birds like these, you don't expect them to last forever. Unfortunately, her birds were from the same place as my first four, a local woman who we later discovered was not careful with her birds in the breeding process and allowed lots of inbreeding, making them less than hardy. I suspect that this little bird lady was just weak because of that. Nevertheless, I felt so bad.
Finches are very social birds, and it is not unusual for one to die when it's mate dies, grieving to death in just a few short days. That happened to one set of mine before and it did with one of her earlier pairs, too. So Linda and I discussed what to do. She could probably get hold of the woman and get another one, but she was hesitant because of our experience with their fragility. We decided to try putting her little male in with my flock. They are used to each other being next door neighbors, so it hopefully wouldn't be a terrible shock, and it might give her little boy the company he needs as a social creature to keep him alive. Then, Linda would decide later whether to take him back or simply start over again with new birds when she has a permanent home again. And she decided that if he did OK with my birds, she would just leave him with me.
A few minutes later I moved him into my cage and watched them all for a while. It seemed to be going very well. No one was being aggressive, so I knew it was fine to leave them all together. I decided to put the little nest from Linda's cage into mine, since the new boy was used to having it. I thought it might help him to not stress. I opened the cage door and put my hand in to hang it on the side and closed the door. And saw only five birds in the cage!!
Keeeeerap! Linda's bird was missing! I heard some scurrying behind me and turned around to see Sam and Max both nosing an area behind a huge woven Indian basket. I screamed at them to get away and flew across the room. Sure enough, there was a tiny frightened bird crouched at the baseboard behind the basket. I reached to grab a throw to block one side to keep him where I could reach him from the other side. But when I turned back, he was gone!
I looked all over in the area, carefully moving furniture, but I couldn't find him. I looked out the window, and Lola was on the deck. When she saw me, she ducked her head, looking very guilty. Keeeerap again. The dog door was immediately beside where this whole drama was happening. But when I checked Lola, I could find no feathers or blood, so she either released the bird or swallowed it whole. I went down to the driveway to check, but I couldn't find him there either.
Back inside, I spent the next couple hours gently moving every piece of furniture in the living room, shining the flashlight under things in into crevasses, with absolutely no luck. I turned off everything in the house that makes noise and listened for several minutes, but heard nothing. Next I whistled to make my birds chirp and sing, hoping that I'd hear the lost bird calling back. Nothing. I finally decided to call Linda and let her know what had happened, convinced at this time that Lola was the culprit. I had a lump in my throat as I went to the phone, feeling like the worse birdie-momma in the whole wide world. And about two steps from the phone, I was startled by a bird flying through the living room and landing on the dining room table! It only took a moment to net him and get him in the cage. What a relief!!
After all this, I got back to my planned routine. I was making the chicken soup today and a batch of toffee. While I was doing this I was also cleaning in the kitchen, and I had a cabinet door under the sink open while I retrieved the things I needed. It stood open for several minutes, then I pushed it shut. I went about my business for a while, then opened it again to get a new roll of paper towels, and when I looked inside ....
Jazmyn has been nervous most of the day because of the snow sliding off the roof. She absolutely hates that and sticks close to me. Apparently, she decided today that the dark recesses under the sink was better than being out where she could listen to the sliding snow! Funny girl! She was on top of my cleaning rags, actually a pretty cushy seat! And she'd been under there for probably a helf hour!
My final disruption today came from Max. He chewed up some sort of thing, possibly a berry (?) on the carpet. It didn't appear that he swallowed it, because there were little pieces of it on the carpet, and there was a horrible purple stain. I watched him for a while to be sure he was OK. I can't figure out what in the world he found! Anyway, when I was sure he was being his normal self, I put a stain remover on the spot on the carpet, let it sit a while and then got out the carpet cleaner and cleaned the living room floor. What else could I do? Gah.
Will I be ready for guests tomorrow? Sure! The house may not be as tidy as I'd hoped, but it's not anything I'm concerned about. For now .... I'm gonna have a glass of wine and forget about what didn't get done today! Sounds like a good plan to me!