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The Bird Came Back


Last Sunday, while I was answering heartfelt condolences on the death of Mom’s friend Olivia, and sharing the joy of a visit from a bird who seemed to be acting as Olivia’s familiar, the bird came back. This time she came into the apartment through the small opening next to the air-conditioner in the living room (where Mom leaves bird snacks year round, just in case). The bird visited the quilting closet again, of course, and the light fixture in the dining room, but then she became more bold and stood on the kitchen counter to eat pizza crumbs off of a plate, and walked on the living room rug, looking for any treats Cricket might have left behind (as if that would ever happen).


Psst. Check the pink thing.

Cricket tolerated the invasion moderately well, until the bird stepped into Cricket’s food bowl to sample the kibble, and then wet her beak in Cricket’s water bowl. The bird even had the temerity to wander under Cricket’s couch! Cricket ran after the bird at that point, and was flummoxed by the whole flying thing.


“I must guard my couch from interlopers, Mommy.”

The bird landed on top of curtain rods and lamps, checked out cookbooks, and stood on my computer chair for a good long time, looking over at me with what looked suspiciously like Cricket’s side eye expression.

bird on lamp

(This is my favorite picture – photographed by Mom and her magic camera.)

bird on cookbooks

“These had better be vegan.”


“This chair is just right.”

At bed time, instead of remaining in the living room, or the kitchen, the bird followed me and Cricket into my bedroom, investigating the tops of my bookcases, and the notebooks on my bedside table. She even followed Cricket into Mom’s room, and stood on the blanket, about a foot away from Cricket’s tail. We were starting to wonder if we had accidentally adopted a wild bird.


“No. Just say no to the bird.”


Mom did research on Carolina Wrens, through Google and bird-wise family and friends, and she found out that this is the time of year when they go house hunting, to decide where to nest in the spring. Of course, we started to worry about how much bird poop we’d be dealing with if the bird decided to bring her whole family to live in our apartment, but there was also something gratifying about even being considered for such an honor.


When Mom woke up in the middle of the night (she and Cricket are big fans of the late night snack), she was sure that the bird had left, but then she saw a pile of feathers on the radiator in the living room. She was afraid that the bird had died, but it turned out that this was just the bird’s sleeping pose, puffing her wings out to act as a blanket, and stuffing her head down to mute the outside noise.

carolina wren sleeping

Ssh. It’s nap time.

By the next morning the bird was gone. We were able to clean up all of the lingering bird poop, which is surprisingly tenacious stuff, but there was also a sense of loss, and then hope, that maybe the bird will return again. Maybe this will become a weekly Sunday visit! Cricket would not be thrilled with a bird in the house on a regular basis, but, for me, it was nice to have another pet again. I think Miss Butterfly would have approved.

butterfly hair askew


(Most of the pictures in this post were taken by Naomi Mankowitz. Any pictures that look less than perfect were taken by me.)

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

88 responses »

  1. That’s so sweet. My little bird comes and goes.

  2. Seeing the buff stripe over its eye it is definitely a Carolina wren. They are very bold and curious and like high places (tops of shelves, curtain rods). They nest in my garage every year and fly in open doors several times in the spring. Cricket looks not enthralled.

  3. Goosebumps, Rachel! Did you show Cricket how the bird was trying to imitate her? I think this is pretty amazing and (secretly) hope this little one does become a regular visitor. Bird snacks by the window opening…..I love that.

  4. As I read this I was thinking of Butterfly 🙂 Where do spirits go when the body is gone? To me they go back to God energy- everywhere. Why not a bird?! Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It’s so refreshing to see kindness towards all beings of God. Hugs!

  5. A privilege indeed, when a wild creature spends some time with us. Always an honour.

  6. How strange that the bird should return just after you had written about the loss of your dear friend. I have never seen a wild bird that tame here, though we do have a Robin who will feed in our garden, when one of us is outside. It will come quite close, but flies off when Ollie the dog gets anywhere near.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. I was deeply touched by the bird account and photos. God moves in mysterious ways, and I have no idea about many things. Still I learned yesterday of the death of a very old friend whose wedding I attended as Matron of Honor and I shared the solace of your wren.

  8. This is quite astounding! You and your mother must give off such calm and welcoming vibes and aura that she felt safe inside like that. How special

  9. What a delightful story Rachel! Thank you for sharing your adventure with the bird, Cricket and the humans!

  10. What a delightful story, Rachael! Thank you for sharing that wonderful adventure of the bird, Cricket and the humans!

  11. I definitely think Olivia was sending the bird as a sign.A friend of mine lost her daugter to cancer and received just such visits from a bird. This was particularly significant to her since her pet name for her daughter was Birdie!

  12. This sent chills up my back (good chills) and tears to my eyes. Any wild bird that ever few into my house or even screened patio was frantic to get out. How wonderful. Looks like you will have to set up a birdie feeding and watering station up high where Cricket can’t get it. ❤

  13. I don’t care what others think-I APPROVE!

  14. We just lost our Sonny boy last week. Daisy is now an only and a very lonely little maltese girl. She misses her brother dearly.

    • I’m so sorry. Cricket still does these sweet things that let us know she’s thinking of Butterfly, like leaving a few pieces of kibble on the rug, or surrounding herself with soft toys. It’s so hard.

  15. What a lovely tale of Cricket and the bird. I hope it comes back to grace your home again.

  16. I love the bird story – please tell your mother the pictures are fabulous!
    As for Cricket, I am surprised that she has not chased the bird…or worse…
    So congratulations for your hospitality, but I must say I am wondering how one of our Carolina Wrens ended up in New York??!!

  17. It sounds like you made the little bird feel welcome, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she returned for another visit.
    Btw…those pics are great, especially the third one on your post. Beautiful. I think your mom had an artist’s eye!
    And, of course, the lovely pic of your sweet, Butterfly. 🙂

  18. I think you should frame and hang your favorite pic. I think it could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

  19. I hope to hear of another, return visit 🙂

  20. Hi Rachel.

    I predict that the bird will return! It likes you and your family.

    Take care —

    Neil S.

  21. Careful. You just may end up with a permanent guest. Make sure you close all the doors come spring or it WILL make a nest.

  22. “The Bird That Came to Dinner”…what a sweet experience! The pictures are priceless…and obviously the birdie feels comfortable enough to go to sleep where it’s warm and safe. Bird poop isn’t a wonderful gift, but the rarity of the visit might counteract that. How beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.

  23. The bird seemed really happy there. What a great visit. Shame about the bird poop cleanup after though.
    I used to keep canaries so I know how that goes.

  24. It is quite a complement to the spirit of your home and its inhabitants that the bird felt safe enough to explore and, amazingly, go to sleep. Then calm enough to find it’s way out again. I would have loved to see Cricket’s face when the bird landed on her kibble bowl.

  25. Lovely anecdote, thanks for sharing! Never knew wild Carolina wrens were curious and bold. ^_^

  26. so fun! birds are amazingly intelligent 🙂

  27. I really love this story, and the photos. Thank you so much

  28. Thank you for showing me the wonders of nature,
    I pray for the happiness of animals and their families.
    It is our mission to protect this star as we live on the earth.

  29. Sounds like Cricket handled the intrusion well…even if she wasn’t a fan.
    What an honor to have such a visit!

  30. Ah i love moments when you get an unexpected visit like this.. .

  31. so adorable…I love the sleeping one!

  32. Tragicomedy. Hahaha, sweet

  33. Wow. So amazing to me that you have a bird visitor!

  34. This is exciting! You know how much we love our bird visitors and friends! Pip and the boys

  35. Sasha sleeps like that. I have taken pictures of her sleeping same way. How lucky to have a bird visitor. I fed the birds all year round at my old house. I feel bad now because I moved and had slowly cut down on their food to get them use to the fact that I would not be feeding them anymore. I fed them for 6 years.We have gotten more snow and cold and I feel sad for them.

  36. I just caught up on reading your archives! So full of love & insights & reverence. So much of what you write resonates for me. Your honest voice is so welcome. I laughed when you said you say things at synagogue discussions that no one else will say! It has happened to me, also. And you have my deepest condolences regarding Butterfly. You are right; the connection to those beings we have loved never, ever ends.

  37. What a blessed experience! And enduring kindness on the part of you, your mom and Cricket.

  38. Thoroughly entertaining; and I laughed out loud at your witty photo captions. Amazing that the bird was so comfortable with and around you all.

  39. What a pretty birdie of a visitor. I am sure she brings you glad tidings. All you have to do is to wait for it, and you’d never know – it may even come to you in the form of birdsongs.

    Lovely post, so glad to have stumbled here.


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