The friendly neighborhood bird that’s been visiting Castleton’s Fine Arts Center returned for another stay on April 20.
On its previous visit, the curious explorer toured the lobby and various hallways of the FAC and sat in on a nursing class and a jazz band rehearsal in the theater. This time, it explored the theater with more intrigue, hopping about the stage and investigating the grid above it.
“I heard some rustling earlier in the week, and assumed that it was a bird,” said Castleton Theater’s technical director MacArthur Stine. It wasn’t until the 20th that he saw the bird.
“I screamed a little bit,” Stine said.
And the bird isn’t the FAC’s first animal visitor.
For years, a bat lovingly named ‘PJ’ has been living in the theatre from time to time. The bat was never much of a concern, but the bird was actively stirring up trouble in the theater.
“It was pooping all over the stage, just all over it,” said sophomore Mason Parece.
Parece works in the theater during a nursing class, and said the bird was flying all around the auditorium and generally creating chaos.
“It had a great affinity for sitting in the commencement flowers. It was enjoying that,” said Stine, “And also popping out to frighten me whenever possible.”
Stine attempted to shoo the bird, and then to capture it in a bucket, but was unsuccessful.
“I got to work, and Mac told me, ‘Hey, you’re gonna need to clean up the bird poop before you do anything,’ and I was just kind of like what, and then I went into the theater, and there was a bird,” said senior Olliver Young.
Neither Stine nor the students were sure what to do about the bird. So professor Steven Gross hatched a plan. If all the lights are turned off and the windows shuttered, and the shop doors to the outside are open, the bird will be more likely to find its way out, he told students.
“So we shut all the shutters and turned off the lights,” Young said.
But the bird wouldn’t leave just yet.
“It didn’t want to walk, so we started rolling water bottles at it,” Parece said.
Sophomore Rome Lazarek chimed in.
“We just kept inching closer, and we had to like, chase it out,” Lazarek said.
The bird eventually hopped outside and the doors were shut. But we still don’t know how the bird has been getting in, and Stine worries it may return.
“I found where I think it was building its nest to keep an ear on it,” he said, “But yeah, sometimes it sounds like there’s a bird up there because there is.”