Monday, 02 July 2007
By Ronni Prior of Rants By Ronni
Have you ever had any dealings with Chimney Sparrows? They are companionable little things, choosing to live in communal chimneys. Most chimneys in this part of the world have screens at the top, to prevent their taking up residence.
We lived in an old house with no screen in the chimney. I had been hearing the birds twittering up there for quite a while, but it was many months before we would need to consider lighting a fire, so I saw no problem with sharing my fireplace with birds.
One evening, SSS (my former husband) and I, arms full of groceries, came home to an astonishing sight. The house was full of birds. There were dead ones on the floor and on the windowsills, and live ones clinging to any and all high places.
SSS immediately became convinced that we had stepped through a reality warp, into an Alfred Hitchcock Twilight Zone. He dealt with it in time-honoured fashion - he went back outside and sat down.
I clambered all over the living room, retrieving birds from the curtain rods, window and door frames, and every niche, nook and cranny where a bird could cling. I carried the first one outside expecting it to fly off in ecstasy, but it clung stubbornly to my fingers and had to be flung into the air.
Twenty-six birds I flung into the air that night, while my husband sat at the picnic table in the yard smoking cigarette after cigarette and wondering when he would wake from his nightmare.
In later times, he was not entirely convinced it had ever happened.