It was a baby bird.
Although able to hop and flap its wings, it was obvious that the little guy couldn't fly.
My mom immediately called me downstairs and we both stared at the bird sitting in the pot.
It was a little female sparrow, and it just stood where it was, obviously in shock.
Night was approaching, and the area where we live is frequented by raccoons, cats, and occasionally a fox that has called our town home.
Afraid for the flightless fellow, we put a towel over the pot, which allowed me to catch her with little effort.
We placed him in our old rat's cage along with a little bowl of water, some leaves, and a stick so she'd feel at home.
Unsure of what she would eat, we scattered some birdseed on the floor along with some cracker crumbs.
The next morning, the bird had gone from being sluggish and tired to being lively and obviously desperate to get out.
We knew it was time to let the little one go.
The sparrow's mother would surely find the bird in the daylight.
I took a few photos, and then it was time.
I caught the bird again, and my mom gave her some water by dipping her finger and then feeding her the droplet.
We placed the bird on a pine branch and it hopped and flapped clumsily to balance itself.
Saying our goodbyes, we left the bird there.
An hour later I went to check up on the little sparrow, worried that perhaps she had jumped to the ground and was in danger of being encountered by animals again.
As I exited my house through the garage, I saw the pine tree branch, this time with two occupants...
The mother, ready to feed, and a flapping, hungry little bird.
I smiled knowing that we perhaps saved this bird's life and that her story had a happy ending.
About two hours afterwards, I saw that they had moved to the stone wall, where both mother and baby bird were hopping up and down the stairs.
Perhaps it was a flying lesson?
I sure hope.