Fifteen Minutes: When did you notice the intruder?
Lesley Ma: My alarm went off at 8:40 and I heard some noises. There used to be water dripping from the fireplace, but I never solved the problem by closing the flue. I thought at first that it was rain dripping down the fireplace again, but it was a lot louder than that. I opened my eyes and saw this black bird flying in my room.
FM: So it came down the chimney?
Ma: There’s no other place in my room that birds can get in.
FM: What happened next? How did you get rid of it?
Ma: When I was trying to open the window it disappeared. Two minutes later Emma came out of the shower and screamed because the bird was in her room. We were trying to stand on the bed in her room to open the window, and the bird kind of fell. It sat on the floor. Then [Adams House Senior Tutor] Michael Rodriguez called and said he’d called the super’s office and they would send someone up right away. One of the janitors came up and was laughing the entire time. He put it in a bag [and took it outside].
FM: And was that the end of your traumatic bird encounter?
Ma: We had to deal with some bird droppings on the curtains.
FM: There have been multiple laptops stolen recently from Harvard rooms. Do you think the bird was out to rob you of valuable merchandise?
Ma: It looked very vulnerable. It was eager to get out. If it intended to steal something from my room it probably wouldn’t have made loud noises by banging on the window.
FM: Are you or any of your roommates bio majors? Do you know what kind of bird we’re talking about here?
Ma: No, [All we know is that] it’s a black bird with a pretty long beak.
FM: So once the bird was removed you immediately shut the flue, right?
Ma: Not yet. I procrastinate. I’ll probably get someone else to do it.