Last night while rinsing gear outside at 2:30 a.m., I heard an awful noise coming from the bushes. Since I already had to intervene in Elliot catching a toad twice, my first thought was that he had caught something bigger. I ran over and, sure enough, Elliot emerged from the bushes chasing a little hopping bird.
The bird ran under the grill, Balu helped me to keep Elliot at bay, and I was able to catch it. It calmed down immediately and latched onto my fingers. I dried him off with paper towels, which showed he was bleeding, so dabbed his wounds with iodine and put him in a leftover bird cage I have with some bread and water.
He's still fine today and has even eaten the bread. I left him Special K when I went to work today. I'm pretty sure he'd appreciate some insects on the side, but hey, I ain't runnin' no bird cafeteria.
Since I am worse at bird ID than I am at fish ID, I had to look him up in my bird guide. He's a plain ol' starling. Grown-up. Boy. Quite cute up close, though. To read more about starlings, check here: http://www.wbu.com/edu/starling.htm - and for a very different "about starlings" page, check out: http://www.pestcontrol-products.com/starling.htm
Sadly, something is wrong with one of his wings, which I'm thinking is the reason Elliot was able to catch him in the first place. It may just need time to heal and re-grow some feathers. Lucky for me, the Wildlife Care Center (http://www.wildcare.org) said they would take care of him if I brought him there. I was worried -- since they have a policy against re-introducing non-native species (which starlings are to all of North America), they couldn't rehabilitate him for release.. And, you know, starlings have a pretty bad reputation. I was worried maybe they'd just put him down. But nope - they'll find someone to take care of him. Oh, how I love those folks. :)