a bird in her hand

I heard a thump and from the corner of my eye saw the flutter:  a dancing shadow.  My mind didn’t register though, and I carried on with what I was doing in the kitchen.  Beatrix must have seen the flutter too, because she opened the door and stepped outside.  “Beatrix, get back inside!  You’re letting all that cold air in!”  She came back in and shut the door, but then quickly changed her mind.  She slipped back outside, this time closing the door behind her.  I still wasn’t paying close attention.  A minute or so later she attempted to come back inside, something in her hands.  I tuned in just as something flew from her hands into the yard behind her.  “A bird!” Keats yelled and raced outside to scoop up the little chickadee, before Intruder could.  Keats cradled it in his hands as I ran for the camera.  I snapped a couple of pictures and suddenly it flew into the air, landing on a light fixture.  We opened doors and windows, but when the chickadee took flight again it headed upstairs.  The kids followed, crying, “It’s in your room now, Mommy!”  I headed upstairs and found the little brave bird perched above my door.  I gently cupped my hands around it.  Jonny noted the pleased look on my face as I came down the stairs, holding my prize.  We don’t typically interfere with wild animals, save the occasional rescue mission, and I had never held a bird before.  It was so tiny, so light, but it did resist just a bit, a light scratching inside my hands.  I carried it outside to the willow tree and underneath the curling branches, I opened my hands.  The little chickadee flew just a few feet before landing on a branch before me and bursting into song.  Keats and I looked at each other with a smile, then watched as it flew higher into the branches.  It stayed for awhile, getting it’s bearings, before leaving the security of the tree.

Later, Jonny and I asked Beatrix for her side of the story.  She had been so stealthy in her mission and we wanted to know what was going on in her head.  She saw the bird hit the glass and then saw a cat grab the bird.  When she opened the door, the cat dropped the bird.  I must have called Beatrix in at this point, but intent on saving the bird (and doing so without telling any of us what was going on-this was her mission) she went right back out, this time closing the door behind her.  The chickadee was now perched on our wire egg basket.  Beatrix demonstrated to Jonny using her own fingers, how she had uncurled the little bird’s claws from around the wire before picking it up in her hands.  She must have held it there for a second before deciding that she wanted to bring her little friend into the house.  But opening the door required one of her hands, which allowed the bird to escape.  Of course, we knew what happened next.  I don’t want to forget Beatrix’s face as she told her story, lit up by the secrets she proudly shared.  Oh, and the chickadee’s little song as it landed in the willow.  I couldn’t tell if it was scolding, thanking, or just glad.  I’m grateful that against all odds our chickadee survived the glass, the cats, and the children:  a happy ending for all of us.


  1. Great story! It reminds me of of the time my mother saw a humming bird in our backyard. She was on the back porch which was screened in. She prayed to God to allow her to see the humming bird up close and it came right up to the screen in front of her face. It flew there for a few seconds then flew off.

    What a blessing to see some of God’s smaller creatures up close like that. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Beatrix the hero! Oh, what a girl, she is 🙂 Someday, I think someone should write The Adventures of Beatrix (perhaps she will do it herself?)

    Lovely pictures!
    Best wishes,

  3. What a gift, to have held that dear little chickadee in your hands.
    I love birds and I love this story of a rescue of one.

  4. We have so enjoyed the fat, plainly beautiful chickadees that gather to eat seeds at our porch. We were thrilled to see a downy woodpecker and a nuthatch yesterday, too! We keep the cats inside during the day so the birds can feast, unmolested.

    I can’t tell you how many critters I snuck into the house…baby mice, injured birds, hatchlings with no feathers. I’m a teacher now, and my principal told me once that she thought she might have to frisk me each day because of this habit…I’ve stopped on my way to work to pick up a wee turtle (which I kept in our classroom costume box!), and always bring in ducklings and chicks in the spring. Beatrix sounds like a kindred spirit! 🙂

  5. I LOVE chickadees, and love what your little girl did….exactly what mine would have done, has done actually…….what a lovely post. I love that the bird burst into song after you brought it outside, it was thanking you!

  6. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Made me smile as we get 8 more inches of snow and I was trying not to be depressed so thank you!

  7. Oh I love Chickadees. What a fun little story! Never a dull moment in your house.

  8. What a great story!

    There’s a trail near here where, if you hold out your hand with some birdseed, the black capped chickadees land for a moment there to snatch it up. It’s an amazing feeling.

  9. …and they all lived happily ever after. phew. that was a close one.

  10. I had that same thing happen to me last year but my bird was scared by the cats and flew inside the house when the door was open. It was a chore to get the bird out and the cats away. It all ended well thou. Like you a happy ending

  11. The bird was probably thinking to itself, “which is worse being caught be a cat or a kid.” Glad Beatrix was able to scare the cat into dropping the bird. Poor bird. What a fun experience though.

  12. What a fun story!

  13. The little bird thanks you! What a sweet story!

  14. Beautiful photos! My little Lydia just enjoyed finding the bird in all the photos with the tree.
    Can’t wait until all the birds return here from their winter holiday.

  15. What a beautiful story and memory! That tree and those pictures are so magical. 🙂

  16. dairygran says:

    Nature is wonderful….wonder what story the bird is telling? Lovely

  17. what a great story.

  18. Oooh those pictures are so cool! And what a fun story! Beatrix the bird rescuer indeed!! So glad the bird ended up in the tree. I’m sure the song was a grateful one 🙂

  19. What a lovely story, what incredibly quick reflexes Beatrix has.
    We’ve had a few fly into our windows too, but usually they are so dirty the birds can see them from a mile off!
    Hope your little Silas is feeling better.

  20. Sweet story and beautiful photos!! What a wonderful memory your daughter will have of that day!

  21. oh lovely, lovely little chickadee. one of my favorites and what a lovely girl too.

    at our old house, we used to get birds fly in ( as well as other critters) sometimes and one time when i was at the sink washing dishes i felt something and called to my husband in the other room. he walked in and said “you have a bird on your head” very matter of factly. i will always remember that.

    what a beautiful photo storytelling.

  22. This story just made my morning. It reminded me of the “rescues” of my own children when they were younger. I’m sure the chickadee was thanking all of you for helping him escape the cat!

  23. I love this story. I too, have caught (saved) a bird once, and I can picture your face Ginny- because I remember having the ‘Oh my, now THIS is cool!’ look on my face as well! 🙂
    Have a good day!

  24. What a wonderful story; it is amazing that God loves us just like He loves this small fragile bird; thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  25. what a sweet story. your little girl is a birdy hero! 😉

  26. Enchanting story!

  27. What an amazing and beautiful story! (Lovely photos too!!).

  28. That was a very lucky little bird!

  29. Sounds like both mother and daughter shared the joy in the rescue. Bravo to all of you.

  30. i loved this story – a little black-capped chickadee! what a special little story for Beatrix to have and hold. there is a parable in there somewhere … been thinking on the birds of the air, and what Jesus said about those birdies. thank you for sharing.

  31. What a sweet, sweet, story. My little ones will love to hear this today. Thanks.

  32. Oh my goodness, just yesterday my girls and I were watching the chickadees at one of our feeders longing to hold one. I can’t imagine how light s/he must have felt. I have rescused and held a blue jay (back inVA) that I saw get hit by a car as well as a thrush and a few baby birds before but never something as tiny and round as a chickadee!!! Oh so sweet. Yay Beatrix for saving it!!!

  33. I love how the pictures capture the adventure of the story. And a wonderful story it was, too!

  34. These little adventures are the heart and joy of family life! I love how sweet and innocent, how moving and heartbreaking (oh, we’ve had heartbreak with some of our rescues!), seeing things through our children’s eyes can be. I wish this kind of experience for every mother and father — to have the time and inner quiet for these little moments! Love your photos!

  35. so fragile! so beautiful!

  36. And you had your camera, right there!. Great photos, specially the one with the bird flying away from the hands. Madalen

  37. Beatrix the bird rescuer! We have birds hit our windows on a daily basis. Not all get hurt but when they do Athena runs out to save them too. My blog is littered with pictures of the birds she had saved. 🙂

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