Monday, March 10, 2008

Brief Taste of Freedom (Escape Attempt from Alcatraz)

I unbuckled the hook and removed the food tray from the bird cage which along with the other two was sitting on the back porch balcony. They've been sitting outside ever since I came down with pink eye a few weeks ago. I turned my back and walked about 5 feet away to refill the food tray. In the space of 10 seconds, my Indian Ringneck (not a Green Conure as I previously supposed) somehow opened the food tray door, squeezed itself through the opening, and walked up to the top of the cage, all without me hearing it (This isn't a complete surprise; before I started locking the door shut a month ago, I would sometimes observe the bird with its head peering out curiously through the door at the wide world outside, but I never imagined it could squeeze through the opening).

I quickly weighed my options. I could lunge at the bird but it would most likely immediately take off, being as it has never had any inclination to be friendly with people.  Instead, knowing the bird would be hungry for its favorite snack, I gently put the food tray on the top of the cage, and proceeded to gently move the cage indoors.  No luck. The bird took flight. In that split second I knew I could violently swat it down, but I didn't want to hurt it. So I watched it lift off with amazing speed flying up  behind the row of houses and off into the wild blue yonder. Oh well... there goes $1,400NT down the drain! Easy come, easy go.

I walked downstairs and proceeded down the street in the direction I had seen the bird fly. I did so with low expectations since only a few months before I had unsucessfully sought out an errant lovebird which flew away never to be seen or heard from again.

As I walked the 50 yards back to the house I saw my neighbor Mr. Chen standing curiously out front. He said he had just seen a very strange bird he had never seen in the wild before. I followed the direction he pointed and walked around the corner in the opposite direction. The bird had flown 3/4 of a several hundred foot-long circle, and was lying on the ground in front of a house under a car. Strategic mistake: instead of fleeing for the open fields directly across the street he flew right back into the clutches of civilization!

With a word of explanation to the person in the house who wondered what in the world a foreigner was doing so comically on their property (God's sense of humor in arranging a divine appointment?), I scooped up the bird. It made no attempt to fly away or bite me, and we returned home. I guess 10 minutes of freedom was enough for one day.

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