So, this morning, I arrived home from my morning errands and was about to go out to the backyard to give the dogs their biscuits, fresh water and fill up their pool. (Yes, we bought them a cheap, plastic kiddie pool. It doubles as a bathtub for them, but that’s another…adventure.) Our puppy, Skye, has just in the last week or so, developed her “big-dog” bark and was using it. I looked out the window and saw that both the dogs were close to the house and acting a bit unsure of things. I scanned the stockade-fenced-in backyard and spied something in the back corner: a cat. Actually, it was a grey blob that I couldn’t identify as a cat until I got closer. Hmmm…eye doctor appointment might be on the horizon.
We have blocked a couple holes that neighborhood cats were using to visit our backyard prior to our moving to this house. Apparently, we didn’t block one well enough. My guess is, the cat squeezed in through the one and couldn’t get out the other that it usually used as an exit. The dogs may or may not have cornered the cat who, I’m sure, has all of its sharp claws and a well-developed hiss. (Unlike the 2 squirrels that recently fell victim to our sweet pooches–literally–fell off the top of the fence into happy, gaping jaws. Poor squirrels.) If the cat is, indeed, well-armed, that would explain why the dogs were hanging close to the house, rather than the cat.
As I watched, the cat jumped up a small tree and managed to clamber its way up and over the top of the fence. It’s a small, Siamese-looking cat and, if its lack of coordination and grace is any indication, it’s probably fairly young. Or maybe it’s just a klutzy, petite adult, like me.
After the cat left, I took care of the dog stuff and started playing frisbee with the pup. It was then that I noticed another blob by the edge of the fence, near to where the cat had escaped. I managed to keep the dogs away and, as I got closer, the small, red blob materialized into a live, young male cardinal. It didn’t move when I got close, so I scooped it up. Well, that certainly brought it to its senses. “Cheep, cheep, cheep!” Thankfully, it didn’t attempt to bite me with its rather large, sharp, pointy beak! (I got bitten by a cockatiel, once. You know that flap of skin between your thumb and forefinger? I was amazed at the willpower it took not to crush that bird that would not let go of that apparently very sensitive part of the hand. OUCH!)
So, I tucked it in my shirt and brought it, cheeps and all, into the house…where this lives:
I took the poor bird to my bedroom where I could shut out the very inquisitive cat. I uncovered the now-quiet bird and it calmly sat there in my hand, then on my finger as I examined and admired it. Then it fluttered off to perch on a picture frame on the wall. “Great!” I thought, as visions of me chasing this bird around my bedroom for the next hour danced in my head. I also had visions of it getting clubbed by the rotating ceiling fan, so I turned that off.
Fortunately, the young cardinal boy was too inexperienced to realize that he needed to fly away from me, so I was able to retrieve him, tuck him back into my shirt and take him outside to release him. After I grabbed my camera. And my cellphone. Honestly, my Southern man can call at the most inopportune times, sometimes. I explained what was going on, whereupon he asked,” Are you going to take pictures of it?” (He knows me too well!) I replied, “I’m going to try!”
So out the door we go and I knelt down, unwrapped the little bird from my shirt and got this:
Not quite focused, except for the fibers of my shirt, but, cute, non? Well, it didn’t take long for him to come to his senses and he fluttered away to the ground:
Again, the picture is in great focus, with the exception of the subject. Focused pictures on the fly are hard for me to get, apparently. So, I got the cardinal one last time to examine his wings, at which point he did bite me, but it felt like nothing compared to that darn cockatiel. He seemed to be in good shape, no injuries, just an inexperienced flier. He took off, again, this time to a bush:
After this, he fluttered off and that was the last I saw of him. I’m sure he’s doing fine, somewhere, now that he’s out of the backyard that has become a potential deathtrap for some critters. Who knows, maybe he’ll come back sometime and I can get a photo of him that is actually focused. Yes, that would be nice.
Meanwhile, it was really neat, as it always is, to hold one of God’s little wild creatures in your hand, even if only for a few fleeting moments before it escapes back to its wildness. Until you realize, afterwards, that it pooped all over your shirt. Oh, well. It was still a memorable little experience….