Sunday, November 14, 2010

Confusion and Panic at the Bird Feeder

I was in my house wrapped up in the tense grip of a suspenseful segment of the book I am reading when I hear the bird bush come noticeably more alive and agitated.  There are louder peeps and chirps and the rustling of leaves and wings beating about.  I unwrapped myself from my quilt cocoon and head over to peer out the window to investigate.  Then: thump, thump, thump!  Three sparrows crash  into the window pane in rapid succession and bounce off again out of sight.  The vision of this makes my heart start pounding.  Another follows wildly out of the bush and smacks the window.  I want to scream at them to stop, but I can tell they are escaping something.  The flight into the window is impulsive.  However, the thought of the sweet little sparrows, all round and fluffy this time of year, injured or dying really makes me feel dreadful!  What can I do?!  What can I do?!  I run to the to other window still trying to see the source of the panicking mob of birds.  Thump!  Thump!  More smash into the glass as they frantically flee the bush, but I still cannot see anything out of the ordinary.

"The cats," I thought to myself!  That has to be it!  There are several neighborhood cats which I am trying to discourage from hunting at my bird feeder.  I run to the front door, water bottle in hand and with more poor sparrows smacking the glass as I pass the living room window, and rush outside to ward off the attacking feline and stop the terrible glass-smacking thuds.  Rounding the corner of the house I actually have to duck out of the way of a speeding bullet of a sparrow that had launched right in my direction.  They are flying in scattered direction faster than I have ever really seen before.

As I begin up the drive way I hear a larger sound of scuffling, leaves rustling, wings flapping from in front of where the car is parked, just out of sight.  Suddenly, a small raptor launches from the ground catching me completely off guard.  I must have taken a few seconds to look back to the bird bush, which is basically empty by this point, during which time the raptor took off and disappeared from sight entirely.  I didn't even really get a good look.  Accipiter I think though.  Then, with some dread, I looked around under the windows in the garden and under the bird bush.  At least I can say that there were no immediate fatalities which I had to tend to, but, on the other hand, I don't think the raptor got any dinner either.

Nature is tough...who to "root" for: predator or prey?  I instinctively want to cheer for the safety of the sweet little balls of feathers that perch and chirp out my kitchen window all day, but it doesn't really seem fair to the streamlined blur of feathers and claws that need to eat them.  So, I try my best to cheer for both.   In order for life to go on, there must be death somewhere.

And, at least it wasn't the cats!

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