It's more than a decade ago that I was awakened one morning by a scratching sound making itself known from the vicinity of the wall vent above my pillow. Given that not too long before that, there had been rats in the space between downstairs and upstairs, I was a bit spooked. The rat sound was more of a 'padding about' sound…and thankfully, was quickly dealt with by the semi-detached next-door-neighbours (which is where the thick-tailed ones were getting in from). The scratching near the bedroom vent seemed more like a bird because there was a bit of tapping or pecking as well. After a pretty long period of waiting to see if the creature would find its way back out, it was clear that it wouldn't. The inner wall vent was an early post-war, integrated cement thing. My brother said I'd have to break it open to let the bird into my room. I gave him a dirty look. Ruin the formed vent? And let out into my bedroom what might be a bird but might just possibly be a giant man-eating, sewer rat? A mutant rat could gnaw my neck and give me Weils disease and I'd die a horrible death. Or it might do for my jugular and all my blood would spurt out up to the ceiling and I'd die in a few minutes.

Well I didn't have much choice did I? …and it definitely sounded like an over curious—and now rather worried bird. I easily picked a hole in the fairly soft cement grill and a bird popped her head out. Hello my little titmouse!

Except she wasn't a titmouse. She was a brown female Blackbird. She jumped in and flapped about without purpose. A mini chase ensued around my bedroom. The most bedroom action I'd seen in a long time. When she—scared—made for a dark corner, my brother threw a T-shirt over her to calm her and took her downstairs and let her out. A council man came and had a look at the bargeboard. He shrugged and said he couldn't see any place a bird could possibly get in and therefore he couldn't fix anything. For a while, I was a teensy bit nervous that I'd have birds coming in above my head while I was in bed…at least until the vent was fixed. But they never did come in again and I forgot about it.


Well bugger me, it just occurred again this Sunday morning. Another bird in the wall. Like the last time, I gave this little flapper an hour or two to see if it could find its way back out. It couldn't. There is obviously something about that space behind the eaves that affords ingress but not egress. Like a fish trap, but for birds. How strange, how Lovecraftian. This time, the inner vent is a flat metal plate with slidable slats (which were shut). Anyhow, when I went back to check a final time, the two bottom nails on the vent had been popped out and the bottom part of the vent was slightly out from the wall. The little rascal had managed to force its way into my room and make an escape through the window. There were also forensic particles of wall plaster on the end of my bed adding to the Great Escape evidence . So I didn't get to physically see the bird this time. Was it another Blackbird? A Starling? A Bullfinch? Guesswork. The vent slats were open, suggesting birdy had somehow slid them back for a look-see before going for the brute force approach. Actually, those stubby nails into the mortar were always crap; that vent was never very secure. An Aphid could have sprung it. I'm just glad this rude intrusion happens less than once per decade.