Tuesday, April 17, 2007

As If the Cats Don't Give Me Enough to Worry About

Today’s post is not about cats. It’s actually about baby birds but it’s too funny not to share. Besides, cats like birds; especially little tasty ones!

We used to have a giant bush in front of our window. It became damaged early in it’s little bush life and it grew a funny trunk sort of like a tree. After years of neglect, it had become very large. After moving into the house, I decided to cut it down. It blocked my only view of our driveway and I felt it posed a bit of a safety concern. I don’t know how to use a chain saw so I opted for an axe and early one summer morning I strolled into my front yard to hack down the bush and perfect my Paul Bunyan imitation.

Things were going very well. I discovered an unknown ax talent and merrily took out some aggressions on the trunk of the bush. Finally, it gave a crack and fell on its side. I flipped it over and chopped through the last bits of trunk that were hanging on. Frankly, I was surprised at how quickly I took it down. Feeling very pleased with myself in a super-woman sort of way I began to drag my conquered foe to the curb. Suddenly I froze. My happy feelings fled out of my chest. Hopping in my flower bed were panicked baby mocking birds who’s house I’d just demolished.

I flung open the front door and called for my husband’s help. There was another large bush adjacent to the one I’d mowed down. I put the baby’s nest in it and we began collecting them. Baby birds were everywhere; yet, what seemed like 12 babies were really only two very active babies. We darted after them, scooping them to safety before the neighborhood cat discovered them. My own cat’s three faces were pressed to the window above us. I later cleaned drool off the glass.

Baby birds aren’t terribly cooperative. We’d put them in their nest and they’d hop back out and explore their new bush. That may have sufficed for older birds but they seemed so flimsy and young that we wanted them in their nest. Finally, one consented to stay put and the other was at least in the bush.

Work loomed large so my husband and I headed out. Later that afternoon I decided to check on the babies I’d displaced. I wanted to check on the one who wasn’t in his nest that morning. I hoped he’d made it back. I stood on tiptoes and peered into the bush. SWISH, THUNK! Mommy or Daddy mockingbird had had quite enough of my interference in their baby’s lives and pecked me on the head.

“Ouch,” I protested! “I’m only trying to help,” I called to the bird who was now sitting in the neighbor’s camellia bush. Purse on my head for safety I peered in again. Happily, both babies were snug in their nest.

Spring is here and the yard calls me to plant, water and grow. I’m worried though, there’s this other bush that needs to go… Maybe, I’ll wait until winter. That or I’ll employ a team to do a thorough anti-baby bird search. Dive-bombing mockingbirds can leave a mark!