Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Excitement in the cattery...

Excitement in the cattery...  We have a room in our basement that's dedicated to seven of our cats.  The room has five windows to the outside, despite being in the basement.  These are well windows, much as in the photo at right (ours are a bit bigger, though).  These let in more light than I ever would have guessed.  For several hours each day, they also admit bright spots of sunlight for the cats to luxuriate in.

This morning Debbie walked into the cattery to see one of our cats (Kapua, aka “mom kitty” ) very excited about something she saw in one of the north-facing windows: a fledgling robin.  It had either fallen or flown into the well, but couldn't fly straight up to get out of it.  It was a very confused and unhappy little fledgling.

Now if you're not familiar with birds, and especially baby birds, there are a few things you need to know about them.  The first is that to say they're as dumb as a stump is to insult all of stumpdom.  The second is to note that they're incredibly fragile – if you grab them in the normal human way, with your hand, you're almost certainly going to injure them.  They likely won't recover from any such injury.  And, naturally, when they see a great big monster human trying to capture them, they struggle to get away – they think you're going to eat them.  Like Kapua wanted to.

Debbie and I both thought of getting a dish towel to cover the fledgling with.  We know from (hard) past experience that you can turn a bird “off” by covering its head.  But Debbie had the real winning idea: to throw the towel so as to cover the fledgling, while I stayed at some distance.  That worked perfectly: I got it covered on the first throw, then packed it gently into a bubble in the towel, and took it outside – to the vast disappointment of the feline crowd watching the whole affair carefully.

I let the fledgling go at the end of our front door walkway.  It flew away from the house, toward the pines in our front yard, then did an about-face and flew straight back to the house, landing in a planting about one foot from another well window.  Sheesh.  Dumb as a stump would be a welcome upgrade to its brain-power.  As of this writing, the fledgling had not fallen back down into the other well window.  I bet it does, though...

Update: just a few minutes after I first posted this, Debbie called up.  “Bird in the window, again!”  Down I went, dish towel in hand, and repeated the entire exercise.  This time I let it go at some distance from the house, under a blue spruce.  Hopefully it will stay there for a while before diving into a window well again.

Stumps are positively brilliant by comparison!

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