It was a Wednesday afternoon. I was home alone with my 7-month-old. I’d just gotten the little guy to sleep in his swing downstairs, so I headed up to my room for a much needed nap.
Suddenly, I heard a giant crash and the tinkling of glass from downstairs. The baby started wailing. Everything seemed to go into slow motion as I thought of worst case scenarios while running down the stairs. Maybe the baby’s swing collapsed. The way he was crying didn’t fit that scenario, though. He just sounded kind of shocked by the noise. I burst into the living room and picked him up which instantly quieted him. So what DID cause the racket?
I rounded the corner into the dining room and found myself staring into the beady eyes of a giant bird standing there. We stared each other down for a mere instant before I decided to head upstairs. Um, I guess I will call 911? What IS that thing anyway? An eagle? Aren’t those endangered? How did it get into my HOUSE?? Thankfully I had left my phone upstairs, so I grabbed it and called 911. The operator was super underwhelmed with my story. “OK ma’am there’s a bird in the house. I will send some officers.” No dude, you don’t understand, that thing was HUGE! I stayed upstairs waiting for help.
Every few minutes I could hear the bird flapping its wings and hissing. I tried to talk myself down by reminding myself, it’s just a bird. But my brain simply didn’t know how to process it. I didn’t know what the thing was and didn’t know where along the scale of emergency the whole incident really was. So I escalated into hysteria. I tried to call my husband and couldn’t get the words out through my sobbing.
Within minutes, South Hills Cooperative Animal Control’s Tony Capozzoli showed up with a net and quickly captured and then released the bird outside.
He also kindly called my husband for me and explained what happened. Turns out it was a red-tailed hawk. It came through my window. There was glass everywhere. Capozzoli kept trying to calm me and then, looking down at the floor, exclaimed “Oh! There’s a dead squirrel too!” I looked down at the lifeless black body of a squirrel. I started crying even harder.
Capozzoli looked at me and murmured apologies while it slowly dawned on both of us that he didn’t have to tell me about the squirrel. I never would’ve known. He got rid of the squirrel, and after some reassuring words he left me to recover. Believe me, the headache that I had while I was initially lying down upstairs was only exacerbated by the whole incident. Nice guy though, the animal control officer. He stopped by later on in the evening to check on things. I had again taken to my bed and heard my husband talking to him.
“Your wife seemed pretty upset,” he said. Huh. What gave you that idea?
Editor’s note: She did the right thing. If you are frightened by an animal, always call 911. If Animal Control is off duty, a police officer will be dispatched to help you.