A grackle got stuck in the porch yesterday. A few friends and I were playing horseshoes, and I went inside to grab a beer. In the twenty or so seconds that I was in front of the fridge, the bird flew in through the open door and was completely stymied by the wall of glass windows. Those windows are nice for me, but not so nice for an animal that has limited reasoning skills.
I watched the bird from inside for a minute or two, hoping that he would find his way back out the door. The black body and iridescent head of the grackle are beautiful in the sun, changing color as the bird looks around. I see them all over the campground, and the flashes of color off their seemingly black feathers usually brighten up the day. But this one was clearly in distress.
Its beak was open like it was panting for air, and it kept fluttering around in the middle of the porch, surrounded on three sides by the outdoors, but blocked by all that glass. He perched on one of the chairs for a rest, then dove headlong into the middle window down at floor level. He dove at this particular window several times, apparently convinced that this was the way out. It was not.
I grabbed a pair of work gloves, and watched the bird for another minute. He was not getting any closer to the open door, and seemed to be tiring. Plus he was hitting his head on the glass a lot. I eased out onto the porch and pushed the outside door open wider. The bird sat on the edge of my cooler, beak open, eyes wide with anxiety. The head shone a striking blue-green against the darker body. Even though I was sorry for the bird, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the colors coming off his scared little noggin.
I got within about a foot before he took off again. But this time, after diving into the middle window again, he took off, spun around and flew over my right shoulder and out the door. I watched as he glided across the yard and landed in a cedar about a hundred feet away. I glanced out at my friends to see if they had noticed the commotion, but the horseshoe pit was too far away for them hear or see the bird on the porch. I stood there and watched him in the tree, wondering if he would remember this experience. I know I will.