Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's The Story, Morning Glory? (Part Two)

Now, the rest of the story-

On Monday morning I was walking down Main Street and just as I reached the building shown in Monday's post someone started banging on the window. It startled me at first since I knew the building was abandoned and that no one was supposed to be in there. When I turned my head to see who it was I was surprised to see a small Sharp-shinned Hawk trapped between the window glass and the old weather worn piece of plywood that had been nail on the inside edge of the window frame. The sound I had heard had been made by the hawk's wings frantically striking the glass as he struggled to fly out of the man-made trap.

My first thought was to get him out and to do it as quickly as possible. I knew I would need some help and some tools so I jogged back home to get my husband. After I told him what I had found, we rounded up the tools we thought we would need (a mop, a small crowbar, a hammer, and a screwdriver), got in the truck, and quickly drove to the back of the building.

Now, that photo of the inside of the building on Monday's post was taken in November when the weather was fine and there was no snow on the ground. When we went inside on Monday there was snow, water, mud, debris from the fallen ceiling, and pieces of wood with rusty nails in them from the no longer standing wall studs scattered about on the ground and flooring. All this made things a little slippery. It was also earlier in the day so not as much direct sunlight illuminated the inside of the building.

In the photo you can also see that the building has been added on to two times, creating three different sections. The back section, between the camera and the brick wall; the middle section, between brick wall and the pile of debris just where the concrete floor ends; and the area that was the original building. That section has a wood floor covered with linoleum tiles.

We walked up to where the concrete ended and found out the pile of debris was actually small chunks of plaster that had fallen off the walls and ceiling. Someone had swept the pieces into a foot wide gap between the concrete and the original wood floor. I was hesitant about walking on the wood floor since I was worried, first, that it would no longer support us, and, second, that the snow hid holes in the flooring. I noticed cat paw prints in the snow that lead straight to the window and decided that if the cat making those prints had not fallen through the snow we wouldn't either. I stepped unto the wood floor and walked over to the window, my husband following behind me.*

After examining the plywood, my husband said the best way to get the bird out was for me to ease the mop down into the space between the glass and the plywood at the far end of the window and then use the mop head to shoo the bird toward the end of the plywood closest to the front door. He would then use the crowbar to pry that end away from frame. This would give the bird a escape route. We tried it once and found out the opening wasn't large enough for the bird and that he also had just enough room to get round the mop head and scurry back to the other end of the window. My husband removed a couple of the screws that held the plywood against the frame and we tried it again. This time the opening was large enough and the bird dived out and then immediately spread his wings and flew away.

Mission accomplished.

By this time our eyes had adapted to the light conditions and as we walked toward the back of the building, following the path we had taken on our way in, I was shocked to discover that I had walked right next to a large hole in the flooring. I had not recognized it as a hole when I passed it the first time- I just thought it was an area of wet dirt. That is when I realize how stupid and lucky I had been.

When we reached the concrete flooring my husband said he thought he should go back and remove the plywood since the window would still be a trap for other birds if we left it there.** I waited while he went back and carefully removed the plywood from the window. He then leaned it up against the window frame and turned and walked back to where I waited. Before he reached me the plywood fell backward and soundlessly hit the floor. Instead of going back to pick it up we left the building. I for one had had enough of the place.

*I now have a sneaking suspicion that he did not step on the flooring until I reached the window. When I got there and looked back he was halfway across and following my footprints in the snow.

**We found out later that our bird was the tenth bird to get trapped in there.

What's The Story, Morning Glory? Part One

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