A Fat Tuesday Visitor

My 100 pound German shepherd was having a tantrum.  Even from the back bedroom where I was getting ready for work, I could hear her snarls and heavy bouncing between the sofas as she scooted them a bit each time she landed.  My husband’s shouts verified it.

“We have a problem!”

Half-dressed, I ran into the living room only to have something dive-bomb my head.

“What the devil…!”

Making another pass, it circled through again.

A bird–a small sparrow–now perched on the half-wall between our living room and kitchen where the ceiling soars to two stories in height.

Using a sofa as a springboard, our dog was still trying to yank it from the air.

“Get her to the garage,” I suggested.  “Then I’ll cut the lights and see if I can coax the bird out.”

The front door was already open due to my husband’s desire to absorb the atmosphere without actually stepping out onto the front porch.  We get the local weather, but there’s just something a bit more special about the way he judges this for himself–(also the reason the bird was in the house to begin with.)

While he corralled our adorable pet, I opened the deck doors and proceeded to turn out the lights and shut doors along the hallway to keep the sparrow as localized as possible. Naturally, after putting our dog in the garage, my husband turned all the lights back on, frightening the bird into another flight stream behind me, into a bedroom.

“It’s back here,” I called out to him.

The poor thing was sitting up on the curtain rod, its little chest beating wildly, probably thinking we were all nuts and wishing it was back outside far more than we did.

“I’ll just raise the window,” I said.  But as soon as I touched the curtains, the bird took flight, landing somewhere in the closed-off room.

I didn’t think it was a problem, but you know what my husband did.  Yep.  He turned on the lights because he couldn’t see it.

Once again, taking to the air, it then landed…


I can still feel the sensation of its tiny little bird feet gripping onto me through my leggings.

Freaking out a bit now, I’m yanking on the rarely opened window until my fingers are aching.  “I can’t budge it,” I say.

That’s when Tony saved the day and I realized how crazed I had become.

“Well, it would help if you unlocked it,” he laughed.

Sure enough, after twisting the locks to the open position, the window opened right up, and the sparrow was more thrilled than we were to be back out into the sane world.

One tiny feather was all that was lost, no droppings–thankfully!

I don’t know if this has meaning.  I believe Tuesday was also China’s New Year.  So perhaps it’s a good omen.  (Don’t tell me if it’s a bad one.)

Have you ever had a bird, or other wild creature, in your house?  If so, how did you get it out?  I’d love tips for next time.

Renee Johnson is the author of Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and one very spoiled German shepherd named Gretel.   



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  1. I get little hummingbirds lost in my house here in Costa Rica quite often,Th eu get stuck on the window sill (trying to get out) so I gently throw a towel over them ,slowlly and carefully scoop it up and release it in the terrace!

    1. Hummingbirds are so beautiful and fragile. If this works for them, it should work for the sparrows. Such a tiny little thing. And I can’t tell you how much I love my birds. I spend a fortune on food for the little rascals, as well as planting things they like, such as sunflowers. This time of year is hard on them. Costa Rica must be brimming with all kinds of wild birds. I’m coming to see you. Soon!

  2. We live in Florida and get occasional visitors of all types. Not long ago my daughter had a large lizard, (about ten or twelve inches), that was stealing her clothes from a laundry basket and hiding them, building a nest I suppose.
    Next time you get a bird, contain it to one room and chase it. It will get tired after 10-15 minutes. Then, gently place a cloth over it, pick it up and take it outside.

    1. Great tip, thanks Sandra. I didn’t think of this. I knew to turn the lights off and illuminate the outside porches, but I didn’t think of tiring it. I think it was more frightened than I was.

  3. Something about birds in the house…a dog in the mix, can be quite upsetting. In my story I was trying to catch the birds to keep my dog from getting them. They kept hitting the “closed” window, and falling in the floor where she was waiting.

    1. I found your comment, Alisa, yay! Birds hitting windows happens a lot here too. Sometimes I have to close the blinds or pull the curtains to keep them from slamming into them. Of course, I guess your doggie doesn’t mind. Makes her work easier! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  4. Isn’t it funny how tiny creatures can create such a ruckus when they come into our homes, Renee? We’ve had our fair share of squirrels in the attic, geckos and tree frogs hanging out in the bathrooms. I remember once, when I lived in Virginia, I heard scary noises in the wall of my townhome. Upon further investigation I discovered four birds who eventually made their way into my finished basement. I lived alone at the time, so I did what any single gal would do, I called my dad. 🙂

  5. i had a similar event about 30 years ago with MY German shepherd who wanted to eat the poor sparrow. My male roommate was perfectly willing to let this happen, and Goliath was totally crazed when I got home. I just opened the window, closed the door to the room (my bedroom, natch) locking the dog out, and waited. Soon, no bird, no bird poop and one very cold bedroom!

  6. I’ve had birds and also possums and snakes in my house, Renee. The birds cause the most damage because they panic and poo everywhere! 😉

    1. Possums and snakes! Oh lord. I’m thankful for the birds. I might the one making the mess everywhere if I found one of those in the house. Yikes! How did you remove the possum? Aren’t they vicious?

  7. Thanks Renee, you made me physically laugh-out-loud. I can just imagine how chaotically comical that was; “Well, it would help if you unlocked it,”
    This would also be a fun situation for you to put in a book. lol Perfect!
    I’m glad the birdie got safely outside. Bless it heart.

    I grew up in the country, so a critter flying, walking, scampering or slithering into our house ever so often was almost a given (and pretty much still is here in the burbs.) It makes for lots of scrambling around to get the critter caught or herded safely back out the door.

    Once upon a time, I worked in a factory. During a break, one of my co-workers was talking about a bird that flew into her kitchen the day before. She was in her mid-twenties and somewhat naive. She was quite worried about if it meant anything bad. Each of four co-workers told negative tales about it. She grew pale from the doom and gloom they had cast. She looked at me almost in desperation and asked if I knew what it meant. I looked at her and decided to go for a bit of comic relief, I said with a laugh “I don’t know for sure, but I think it means you have a bird in your house.” Everyone laughed and she laughed too and seemed to feel better.
    It was one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments. It was silly and sounds blandly goofy, but I wanted to share it with you. It’s amazing how frightened some folks get over old wives-tales and how a little comical relief brings a bit of comfort to their mind.

    Can I just add, that your German Shepard must be a magnificent beauty at 100 pounds. I honestly didn’t know they got that big. That’s wonderful. 🙂

    1. E.C., I love your story. You have a gift for writing too, especially as humor can be difficult to get across. Wonderful.

      As for Gretel, yeah, she’s a big, spoiled, baby. And I love every ounce of her. As soon as the weather breaks, and I recover from this crud–yikes–we’ll resume our afternoon walks and some of that winter weight should melt off.

  8. Men and their lights! He Who does this to me all the time. Walks into the room I am in and turns on the brightest lights he can. Blinds the hell out of me.
    I’m glad you and the bird made it out of the situation safely.

  9. I’m so glad it all ended well! I can only think a visit from a sparrow was a good omen – we used to see these friendly little birds everywhere when I was younger, but there has been a decline, so I’m always happy when I come across a group of them twittering away! We tend not to get any wildlife popping in for a visit – other than the usual spiders and flies 🙂

  10. Oh, yes, I have had birds inside my place—and raccoon and possum. But birds usually don’t survive long since we have to cats in the house. Glad you got your flying friend saved before the dog got. it. 🙂

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