Birds on a Snake Trap

Feathers on a glue trap.jpg

Traps - of any kind - don't always catch what you intended.

You might've been following the story I told on Facebook about the unwanted visitor in our garage. The snake jerk that scared me and drove an unexpected thorn into my relationship with Addison. You may recall his thoughtful, yet useless, catch and release nonsense and my more practical shovel and slice approach. Mama Bear protecting her teenage cubs from anaconda for the win. Fist in the air.

Since the snake-apocalypse, Danny and I have hired exterminators and professional wildlife experts to properly inspect our home and garage. To the best of their expertise and knowledge, they verified holes are closed and perimeter seals are flush. And just like an Estée Lauder gift with purchase, we received these peel-able glue traps to put in the corners of the garage. Like an oversized maxi-pad waiting for what sure would be an 8 foot snake, thousands of crickets and the occasional but nonetheless disgusting classic American Roach, it sat waiting for its victims. We never received a certificate of guarantee from Donnie's Wildlife Removal that we would never see the slithering guests again but the handsome checks we wrote should suffice in court.

Yes. Court.

Because if I see another snake in my garage, I'm torching the place, hunting and doing full taxidermy on Donnie of Donnie's Wildlife Removal, moving to an island, and bringing judgement against Danny because he allowed the vermin to infiltrate my cozy nest and our happy home. I'll need a document that proves just cause.

So back to my original point. Traps (of any kind) do not always catch what you intended. Heading out to run a few errands before picking the kids up from school, I slammed the kitchen door which leads down the steps into the garage. The abrupt noise stirred something in the far corner near where Danny parks his car. Two small eyes were transfixed on me before I even noticed they were there. But the creature's panicked movement caught my attention. Flopping and twisting on that white cardboard glue strip was a trapped bird. I set my keys and purse down and walked slowly towards him. Those tiny black eyes stared at me. His head twisted and craned to study my approach. It's body was plastered to the glue. It's right wing was twisted in an unnatural position and one of his legs appeared to be folded backward. There were bare spots all over his fragile body, the missing feathers matted to the sickly colored glue. Then I saw blood.

I ran back into the house, flung open the cabinet above the stove and grabbed the cooking oil. I sprint back to the garage and had the cap off before I landed on the bottom step. Carefully I drizzled the smallest amount onto his wings pinned to the paper. His head spun around that it almost seemed like it was disconnected. His beak pecked at my hand as I loosened the remaining feathers and massaged the oil enough to free one wing.

I soon realized my mistake by doing this in the garage because once the bird was completely free he would be caught inside. The one frantic wing tried to lift himself away but his efforts were heartbreaking. He was tearing his body to fight for freedom.

I carried the glue card and the sweet, struggling life outside on the sidewalk near the bushes and trees. The bright sunlight stunned me and I slowed my steps until my eyes adjusted. I gently set the bird and card down and focused on working the oil onto the rest of his sticky, weak body.

A movement to my right, just on the periphery of the garage took my concentration away from this helpless bird. I studied the opposite corner of the garage and could not believe what I was seeing. A second bird, the same as the one in front of me, trapped and mangled in another glue strip. Two traps on different sides of the garage captured two birds on the same day.

I could feel all of my animal loving emotions bubbling to the top of my chest and my eyes beginning to sting anticipating the tears that were coming. I shook my head, steadied my determination and frantically got to work rescuing these birds.

Their little bones were brittle, fragile and hollow like dried pine straw. I gently rubbed the oil into the paper and glue and eventually their feathers would release and then stick to my fingertips and the now greasy paper trap. Each bird surrendered to my help but I could feel their jackhammer heartbeat.

I freed the first one and it tried to lift and fly but flipped onto the concrete and limped into the Liriope. The damaged bird fluttered to the low branches of a prickly bush then fell again to the ground and then disappeared deep into the hedge.

The second bird didn't have as much blood, and must not have been trapped as long as it's mate. My hands were slick with vegetable oil and feathers as I reached to work on her. It dawned on me that these birds must have thought that the traps would be a wonderful source of food since bugs like crickets and centipedes were stuck. To a bird, the glue traps made for a yummy bird buffet.

The glue traps weren't meant to catch birds but sometimes traps become what you did not intend for them to be. Call me a sap, but I've cried all afternoon for birds that may or may not have survived. I blame myself for this unfortunate event. It's my fault we put those stupid traps down for bugs and snakes...not birds. Not gentle, sweet birds.

My rescue efforts might have been useless but I'm comforted by the thought that I at least gave them a chance. I secured their freedom albeit wounded and gave them the dignity to die among the branches and not plastered to a board on a cold garage floor.

If you have a soft place nestled in your heart for animals, reconsider glue traps. It could be that you'll catch something you never intended.