Andrew and I were minding our own business in the living room today when I heard some noises in the carport. The ensuing kerfluffle was only enough to be a nuisance to me at first, but once I tuned into it, I realized that there were thumps out there and a cardinal chip-chip-chipping in the front yard.
I sent Drew outside, thinking it was probably nothing, but within a moment, he was tapping on the window, motioning for me to come out and help.
There was a confused baby cardinal floundering around in the carport, slamming into the side of the house and falling short of the safe roost in the rafters. He was, of course, even more frightened to see two big people out there with him and skittered under our car.
His mama was making all kinds of alarm calls in the front and, with our neighborhood's out-of-control feral cat population, I knew this little guy was in serious trouble. It goes without saying that we dropped our own agenda and patiently waited for things to calm down so we could help him out. Eventually, he made a break for it, zooming out and trying to take flight again, only to land in our recycling bin, getting trapped between cans and bottles. As unfortunate as that sounds, it actually gave me an opportunity to scoop him up into my hands and carry him out to safety.
He sat very still in my grip, breathing hard, heart fluttering wildly. He felt so tiny and precious in my hands - silky feathers and tiny, sharp claws all bundled up in an impossibly light frame. I took him to the back of a chair in a more open area of the yard and he gratefully disembarked, pausing for a moment to catch his breath and listen for his mama.
We were still a little worried, so we waited quietly on the back porch, standing guard against The Cats.
He managed to fly long enough to make it into a tree and we watched long enough to see his frantic mama rush to his side. Once we knew he was as safe as he could be, we went back about our usual business, but I can now say from experience that, once you've held a baby bird in your hand, nothing can ruin your day - nothing.