08 July 2009

Tempting Fate

I put a bird feeder up in June, more for the cats than for me. They really like watching birds, and they have a clear view of the feeder from the west window. I think the birds are interesting, but the cats' reactions to them are far more interesting to me.

And, yes, the cats do try to catch them when they're outside. So far as I know, they've only caught two. One was a starling, who wasn't actually dead when Pouncer brought it into the house, so I had to catch the poor thing and put it back outside. Have you ever heard a starling scream? It's very loud and disturbing. Pouncer brought a smaller sparrow who was dead into the house another time, and got scolded for it. But those are the only two.

Two days ago, though, one seemed to be daring Jilly to catch it. It would sit on the clothesline, looking down at Jilly, and then swoop down just out of reach before flying back up. It did this repeatedly. I have no idea if the bird was really trying to tease Jilly or if there's some non-anthropomorphic explanation, but it was a bit bizarre to watch.

Anyway, I mostly have house finches and house sparrows (aka Parking-Lot Birds; you see them in parking lots around here rather often). There's one that I'm not sure of. It might be a female house sparrow. It might also be a different species of sparrow. It's got a distinct stripe running along its head through its eye. The female house sparrow here has a fainter stripe, and several other species of sparrow also have a stripe. I'll have to see if it/they have any of the other distinctive markings.

For a while, I had some starlings coming as well, but they were more interested in the suet cakes that I put out before putting up the bird feeder. Since they were the only birds I ever saw at the suet cakes, and I'm not a big fan of starlings, I haven't gotten any more of the suet. Admittedly, it was entertaining to see them trying to feed at the feeder; it's sized for finches, and starlings are almost twice as big. Picture a 7 foot basketball player trying to write at an elementary school desk; that's what it looked like when the starlings tried to use the feeder.

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