How to catch and not kill a not-so-mocking-bird

Well, we have reached new levels of ingenuity here. No, my seven year old son hasn’t started reading books on the reading list for year 9 students. Nor do I have anything much to say about that particular novel, despite my title. What has been going on here is somewhat more literal. 

As many of you know, we have chickens, and they have a cage (not that they spend much time in it and the door is never closed anyway!). The chicken food lives in the cage as one would expect, but we keep the door open so the chickens can come and go as they please. As it happens, so do many other birds from the local area.

Sadly, we don’t get any lovely birds like Rosellas or Wild Budgies. We get nasty flea ridden Indian Myna Birds. Here in Australia, we hate them. They pick on all the other birds and they are noisy and ugly to boot. 

My son decided he would really like to catch the birds that use our chicken house as a fast food fly through. I thought, OK, he’ll never be able to manage that, so I’ll humour him. First, he managed to sneak up on the slower kind of Dove that also frequents the cage. He trapped it in the cage then entered to catch it in his hands and bring it to show me! I was glad to see that he had no interest in harming the bird at all, he just wanted to catch it and hug it then let it go.

The Myna Birds are much faster than the Doves though. What to do?

Why rig up a rope from the door of the hen house down to the back door of course! That way, he can sit and wait in comfort from the verandah and wait until a bird enters the cage and then use the rope to close the door! The first day of the trap operation saw two birds caught! One Dove and one Myna Bird! Both birds where brought back to the house to show me, hugged and stroked then released to go about their business. 

Now of course, the nasty birds are starting to realise that something is not quite safe in that backyard with the ‘free’ food. They came in much smaller numbers today, much to my sons disappointment as he waited patiently between homeschooling lessons for a bird to enter his trap! 

Rather than discourage him, I decided to praise how gently he caught the birds in his hands, and how carefully he held them. I cringed when he kissed their heads, and made him wash his hands straight afterwards, but how could I tell him not to do it when he was so excited to… in his words…

“…hug a birdie!”

Interestingly, he’s also taken to getting the giant white puppy to sleep on his bed with him. I don’t know how he can stand it since the dog takes up more space on the double bed than he does! Oh well, when you love your animals, you love your animals!

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