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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Little Brown Creeper

SUNDAY, JANUARY 30, 2011

Jeff caught something out of the corner of his eye bulleting down into the sparkling snow bank next to the back corner of our house.  Gauge instantaneously shot after it, burying his entire German Shorthaired head.  FLD Gus wasn't far behind.

"Gauge, LEAVE IT!" Jeff yelled.  He wasn't sure what Gauge was after, but it was best not to wait to find out.  Gauge lifted his head briefly, noticed Gus about to dive into the hole he left, and plunged back in.

As Jeff struggled in the snowdrift to reach Gauge, I repeated his command to FLD Gus.  Gus.  Leave it.  I was surprised when Gus looked over his shoulder at me and relaxed his lunging black body.  Good boy, Gus!

Jeff yanked Gauge out by his collar and peered into the fluffy snow-hole.  What is it? I asked, struggling over myself to make sure that Gus didn't get any more ideas.

"I don't know.  A bird, I think."

Jeff's bright-yellow-leather-work-glove-clad hand dipped beneath the snow and brought up a tiny brown and white fuzzy bird.  He cupped the barely breathing creature and stroked it gently, saying, "It doesn't look very good."  The bird's eyes were closed and its long, curved beak was just open.

Gauge nosed Jeff's arm, sniffing.  "Let's put it somewhere safe," Jeff said, raising his arm out of reach.

A plethora of birdhouses pepper our yard.  Rustic wood boxes on the top of tall poles; red, white, and blue patriotic houses on shorter poles; houses with peaked roofs and slanted roofs; houses square-shaped and diamond-shaped--one on the side of the "potting shed" sports a painted handprint over the opening.

Jeff carefully carried the little bird to a birdhouse with a glass jar side-room and set it on the jar-lid balcony.  We hoped the bird was okay; Jeff didn't think Gauge got his mouth on it.


Back inside our house, Andy and Jen enjoyed a late morning coffee together while Jeff and I were in the woods tiring out the dogs.

Did you see that bird? I asked when we stomped in.

"Yes, there were two of them right there on that bush."  Andy nodded toward the window facing the yard.

Jeff and I never saw the second one; we explained how Gauge went after the bird that seemed to take a free-style dive straight down into the snow.  "I don't know where it came from," Jeff exclaimed.
View from the window.

Jen jumped in.  "I heard a noise from the back bedroom, like a BANG." 

We decided that the little bird flew from the bush smack dab into our bedroom window, falling like a rock right in front of Gauge's nose.

"We put it on that birdhouse beyond the flower garden there," Jeff gestured.  We all looked out.  The little brown and white poufy bird was gone!  "Guess he just knocked himself out." 

I pulled out my Christmas gift from Jen and Jeff, Birds of Michigan Field Guide, by Stan Tekiela, excited to put it to use.

Jeff rescued a "Brown Creeper."

(Learn more about Brown Creepers on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website:  "All About Birds.")


Way to go, Jeff, for rescuing the Creeper!  I am proud of Jeff, and proud of FLD Gus for paying attention to "leave it."  (And Gauge, too, for not eating the unconscious bird!)

Jeff and Gauge napping it up on the couch.  Odo gets the floor.


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