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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Extra Bird

A bird house hung from a branch of a sycamore tree. Made from redwood, the tiny house had an opening cut just big enough for birds to fit in and nothing else. Several types of birds shared the feeder. Every evening three bluebirds, Azure, Indigo and Robin; three cardinals, Ruby, Scarlet and Carmine; and three canaries, Saffron, Topaz and Sunny, slept inside the house.

One morning Azure was the first bird to wake up. She yawned and stretched her wings. “Hey, why does it seem more crowded in here? I used to be able to put my wings behind me and now I’m squished.” After a quick glance around the bird the bluebird climbed over all the other birds and squeezed through the hole. “Time to find a worm. Only the early bird finds the worm. Hee hee.” Off she flew. The other birds woke up one by one and didn’t notice the extra body.

That day the birds flew into and out of the bird house. Whenever they needed a nap, they curled up inside, safe from cats and other predators.

Another red bird, Rose, had joined the group. She’d been flying by and saw them gathering at the bird house. Thinking nothing of it, she spent the night with the other birds.

That night after all the birds had come in for the night, Azure chirped. “All right! One of you has put on some weight. It used to be roomy in here, but now it’s crowded. Is it you, Saffron? Have you been nibbling on Mr. Blocton’s suet?”

The canary shrugged his shoulders. “Not me. It is crowded though.”

“I think there’s an extra bird in here,” Carmine said.

“What? An extra bird?” Topaz looked at the others.

Rose slid down so nobody would notice her.

“All right. Let’s count off. We know there are three of each color. Yellow birds, you go first.” Azure flew to the hole and perched for a better look.

The canaries counted off. “One!” Saffron called.

“Two,” said  Sunny.

“Three,” said Topaz.

The blue birds counted and then the red birds did. Rose kept quiet so nobody would notice her.

“We’re all here. Still, something’s very fishy here.” Azure joined the others. They curled together and slept, all but Azure. Once the others dozed off, the bluebird flew back to the hole. “I see three yellow birds, three blue birds, counting myself and what’s this? There’s an extra red bird.” Azure chirped and woke all the other birds up. “There is an extra bird in here and it’s red.”

One by one the other birds backed up against the wall, leaving Rose standing in the middle. “I’m sorry. A cat tried to get me. I had to sleep in the grass and…” The bird cried.

“Let her stay,” Ruby said.

“Yes, let her stay,” Scarlet added. “She doesn’t take up that much room.”

After discussing it until the wee hours of the morning, the cardinals won. Rose was allowed to stay. Days went by and they adjusted to the extra body.

A week later one of the red birds woke up with a wing in her face. “I think there’s an extra bird in here.”

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