I asked 3 birds if they would bring the ball back to you, but one was preoccupied with trying to snatch up something sitting on a branch above it; one too busy preening its feathers, and the last too busy deciding whether or not to start drilling into this funny-looking “tree!”
Okay, after thinking about it for some time, I decided I should have identified the birds and the animal in the photos. The first photo shows a gray squirrel sitting on an upper branch and a Cooper’s hawk that had landed on a lower branch below and slightly to the left of the squirrel. The hawk had just missed getting a bluejay feeding on my porch railing and actually flew past my face - less than 3 feet/<1m - and flew over to that tree and landed before it noticed the squirrel (who “froze”). As soon as the hawk started to move, the squirrel jumped over to the tree to the right and ran around to the opposite side. Eventually, the hawk flew away. The second photo is a red-tailed hawk preening its feathers after a bout with several crows. It is about 200 yards/183m away (40x zoom). Sat there for nearly 30 minutes. Finally, photo number 3 is of a pileated woodpecker - who wouldn’t sit on one tree long enough for me to take its picture. No! It kept on flying from tree to tree - and each one being farther away than the previous one - until it finally landed on a utility pole about 40 yards/36.5m away. When I took this photo the sky was gray and overcast. We had rain mixed with snow later that evening.
So those are the “busy” birds that wouldn’t help get Cagey’s ball!