Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unintended Consequences

We put netting over our tomatoes to save them from the birds, and while it hasn't been 100% effective, fewer tomatoes have been lost to those thirsty critters. The other morning, though, when I was at the garden to pick and water, I was startled by a squawk and a flurry on the other side of the row. When I stepped through to investigate, I saw a young cardinal trapped in the plastic mesh. He did not like me approaching, but he was stuck and could do little except make some nasty noises and scrabble a few inches away. I was worried that one of his wings or legs was injured, but when I carefully lifted the net, I saw that he had jammed his head through one of the squares and his feathers had spread behind him, making it impossible for him to reverse the thrust. I held a small pair of clippers in my hand, and so I bent to carefully snip the mesh that imprisoned the faded red fledgling. He caught the blade firmly in his beak and only released it to scold me for such a threatening gesture. Twice he intercepted the clippers before they could cut him free, but finally I was able to distract him long enough to make two quick snips. He dropped gently to the ground, hopped once, and flew away.

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