Lower School Science Teacher Catches Loose Bird in Race Street Circle


Photo courtesy of Jakob Miller ’23

A female house sparrow entered the school building via the Race Street Circle and remained there for about twenty minutes before Lower School science teacher Anna Grant caught it at approximately 8:25 a.m. this morning. 

After entering the building, the sparrow spent most of its time perched on second floor window sills bordering Race Street Circle. In an attempt to guide the bird towards a net wielded by Anna, Rachel Luce ‘21 knocked on the windows. Rachel’s final knock prompted the bird to fly towards the large window in the alcove on the Race Street Circle steps, causing a collision. This collision allowed anna to recover the bird and carry it to safety on Race Street.

Anna, who began teaching at Friends Select this year, has already handled four bird incidents at the school building. On three occasions, female house sparrows have entered the building in the same manner as this morning’s avian intruder. Earlier this year, Anna recovered a Northern Flicker who had crashed into the school building, later taking it to the Schuylkill Wildlife Center for medical evaluation.

According to Anna, getting the bird to leave safely is difficult. “They don’t understand windows, so you don’t want to just chase them into the windows. You also want to make sure that they don’t have a clear exit, which is hard in [Race Street] Circle.

Middle School administrator Chris Kottcamp, who handles morning arrivals in the Race Street Circle every day, saw the sparrow enter the school building at approximately 8:05 a.m. Chris has seen the other two bird entrances as well and says that the birds typically linger for about fifteen minutes.

Anna says that bird entrances may be more likely to happen in the spring: “all animals that are building nests and having babies this time of year are going to be a little more agitated,” she says.