I get up to investigate. I have absolutely no fear of mice, so I am undaunted as I search.
Found it! The skittering is coming from inside the wood stove. There are two doors to the woodstove, the front and the top. What if it is a bat? or worse yet, a bird?
I have a nasty bird phobia. When I was a little girl, I went to my Aunt Dora's chicken coop alone to see the baby chicks. Inside the rooster attacked me and then the hens panicked and fluttered into me. I was hurt from the rooster spurs, but more than that, I was terrified. I was sure I was going to die. I do not recall this incident, only what my mother told me thereafter. They think I was gone maybe 20 minutes, which is a long time for a toddler to be scared to death. When my aunt and mother dragged me out of there, I would not stop screaming and they seriously considered taking me to the hospital. I must have settled down, but the rest of my life, any flying thing, even a moth, scared the crap out of me.
I was determined to overcome this on the farm. I got some chicks and could not touch them. I had to put on a suit of armour coveralls) and hat and gloves, just to feed them. But one got injured and was going backwards in circles. I wanted to help it, though I knew I would have to reach in there and pick it up. Several times a day, I dropper fed the little gaffer, wearing my armour, of course, but that incident was the beginning of healing. I am mostly cured, maybe to the extent I will ever be, as long as I am not trapped inside a building with crazy, flying birds. I avoid the barn and the swallows there, but can manage the coop and duck house, because the birds are calm.
So, if it was a bird, or a bat, and it got loose in my house, I would be terrified. I decided to leave the critter and see if it could make its way out by morning. I heard nothing at all for a long time, but this morning, there it was, the unmistakable fluttering and skittering. I made a plan.
I put a small bag over the opening and slowly opened the lid. A little brown bird flew out and around the house. I am screaming by now and run and hide. The bird stops at the kitchen window. It has knocked my little plants down and is frantically trying to get outside and away from the bellering lunatic in the house (me). Hmm. I have to make a plan. Rosie said to get a net. I bought one at the dollar store the other day, a butterfly net, to catch baby chicks and ducklings with, but it was outside. I had to get outside safely. I edged slowly by that monster flying around the kitchen window and it came right at me. Actually it went over my head to the living room window and back to the kitchen. I continued to scream as I ran out the door to get the net. This was definitely one of those times I wish there was someone else here!
Armed with the net, I come back in gingerly, and look around from the door to locate that monster. It was at the kitchen window. Great. I cautiously sneak up to it and attempt to get it in the net. It flies by me to the living room and I scream again. My heart is beating fast enough that I think I might croak right then and there, but I steel my resolve and go after that thing. I manage to get it in the net flat against the window. Now, to make sure it stays in the net!
I sneak up the handle and finally get to the bird, and carefully take it in the palm of my hands, still in the net. It is a little brown bird. There are lots of them around here. I can feel the tiny heart beating and feel compassion for it. It does not look injured or covered with soot as I expected it to be. Outside we go and I release it, thankful it is gone.
Then I go inside and sit down to have a cup of coffee. What is that noise?
It is another skitter in the wood stove. Cripes! Another bird? Was it there with the first one or did it just drop in.
OK, I am wiser now. I make a better plan. I get a big plastic bag and put it entirely over the top of the wood stove and secure the edge with a board. That sucker ain't going nowhere. Carefully, I open the lid of the stove through the bag and out flies a bird who immediately finds a corner and flies right into me. I am dying. I am screaming. The world has come to an end. This is it.
It gets off me and makes for the window. The net is right there. Once I still my heart enough, I grab that net and nail the sucker against the window. This bird is a sparrow. I did not touch it, but made a sack around it so it could definitely not escape and took it outside. That is enough excitement for a very long time.
I finally pour my coffee and notice that the bird has shit on my dish cloth. Thanks a lot!
My mother used to say that when birds try to get in the house, you will be moving. I have no plans to move, but maybe that is a seed planted. Anyhow, no more darn birds, please! and thank you!