I drove the birds to NH this weekend. It was very difficult, intense, and in the end, magical.
It took all I had to go into their room Saturday night at 10pm to start rounding them up. The prospect frightened me. This has always been so when it comes to interfering with their lives. But one-by-one I snatched them up and put them in boxes. I'm sure it was stressful for them, but once I got started it went along pretty smoothly. They're pretty elusive little birds when they want to be and it was an effort to catch a few of them.
I had a couple escapees, and one would have been left behind had I not made a complete check of the apartment before heading off. There was much grumbling and flailing of wings but they settled down rather quickly when I turned the lights off. Almost the entire operation was carried out in the dark with the help of my flashlight, and given how boxes are strewed wall-to-wall around here as of late, the travail was accompanied by several bumps and stumbles.
I started at 10pm and thought it would take me an hour to get them in boxes. I didn't check the clock once I started--on purpose. I knew that if I did I could easily get frantic about how long it was taking. So I just kept focused, one bird at a time, and when finished, checked the hour. At that point I knew it would be later than 11pm--the time I had wished to leave town--but hoped it wouldn't be too much later. It was 12:30 am. Ah.... must accept. A couple of breaths, a scan of the apartment, and we were off. It was 1 am when the wheels were put in drive, loading the boxes of birds into the car had taken another half hour.
My sense of relief at this point was huge. I was just so relieved that all my birds were packed in the car and that we were off. It had seemed almost impossible in theory. A step at a time--a good rule to live by I think.
We were on our way! Made it to the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) and had travelled only a half hour's worth when there was a flutter of wings about. Yup, 3 little birds had decided they weren't tired and had forced themselves out of their nest. Oh boy. (In addition to the large boxes I also had 5 nest boxes--with tenants--which entryways I had plugged up with towels. Not well enough.) These 3 adventurers were a family: Mom, pop and fledgling. The fledgling had just come out of the nest last week.
Oh boy! Mind racing, "Is this just a single incident or am I going to end up with a car full of birds fluttering about while I try to drive!?" Single incident seemed controllable, a car full would have been embarrassing and made driving impossible. Fodder for movies ala "Bringing Up Baby".
Well, luckily, it turned out to be a single incident and I shared the cab with 3 lovely little lovebirds. One of them, the mom I think, made herself a bed in the blanket I had on the passenger side front seat. I don't know where daddy perched himself, but the fledgling made my trip!! This sweet little creature, with a natural propensity to fear me, came up to the dash board and looked around for a while. His next move was the cross bar of the steering wheel and he sat there riding the tide of my turns left and right for a good half hour. I was enchanted by this point. S/he was acting just like a handraised bird, and of course, I thought of Annabelle. I guess a half hour of steering wheel carnival time was enough for this darling and he proceded to climb my shirt up to the back of my neck and perched there another half hour preening the back of my head. Truly awesome. And it felt great!
By now the whole ordeal had transformed into something quite magical. The traffic was light at that hour. The stars were visible. I was being caressed by one of God's little creatures and the car was, relatively speaking, pretty quiet. Just an occassional squirmish now and then. How often does one get the opportunity to make a trip with a flock of birds?
We arrived at my house at 6:20 am, right on schedule--adjusted for the late start. I had calculated on the way up that if we arrived around this hour, I would probably be able to crash on the living room floor by 8 am and could recover and revitalize for 5 hours or so. It worked out just so.
The birds are temporarily in the guest bedroom because I discovered when I got there that the door to the entry-way addition is only a screen door. The temp when we arrived was 28F. No, doesn't work out. So on to plan C for housing. They won't be in there too long. It is now quite a priority to get their own castle worked out by the end of June, I hope.
There was magic on my way back to NY tonight too, but that will be the next post. I will say, being here in the apartment without the birds is lonely and almost surreal. We've had some wonderful times here, we have. It's so quiet at the moment and I keep behaving as if they are here--such forces of habit.
It is an enormous, gigantic relief to have them moved. It almost seemed impossible, but here we are, and I experienced a night I will never forget.