Posted by: dougery | April 22, 2011

For the Birds

This is not our cat Pickle, but somewhat resembles her.

Like most things we acquire, L and I waited a ridiculously long time to purchase… a bird feeder.

Living with each other for more than a year and constantly volunteering at the former PAWS cat shelter on Clark St in Chicago before finally falling for a shy black cat named Barry White Toes was one thing. That was actually bringing some living creature into the fold. Something we would/will be taking care of for years down the line. It made sense to wait and do what felt right. Looking back on it, it was kind of silly it took so long for two people who love animals to get some pets, but that is how we operate.

7 months into living at our farm house and we still haven’t gotten bookshelves. And until this past weekend, a bird feeder. And it wasn’t like L didn’t want one. She would not-so-subtly remind every time we passed one that there were trees, trees right outside our windows, trees with branches, trees that wanted feeders dangling from their boughs. The problem was we were passing bird feeders in craft stores and grocery marts. Overpriced and garrish or shoddy and dangerous looking. I didn’t want either. Then I was 99% sure I’d get her one for Christmas. That too didn’t come to pass.

So when we visited the farm store for plantings this past weekend and found a decent feeder it made sense.

And now all is well. A rag-tag team of misfits visits our feeder every morning and when we get home in the evening. L especially like “the red one,” and is fascinated by another visitor, a robin, who won’t have much to do with the seed but has made a kind of friend with the feeder for reasons unknown. A small red squirrel enjoys what the chickadees and junkos viciously peck at and drop below. And our cat Barry… well, last night I saw the squirrel for the first time and thought he might like to see it too. I grabbed him out of his taco (a cat bed that wraps up on him so that all that sticks out is his head and some of his back, thus ‘Taco Bear’) and hauled him in front of the window facing the feeder.There is a chair there, and I placed him on it, with his front paws up on the sill.

He froze in place. Then came that clicking sound cats make when they see a bird or something they really really want to eat. And then he began to dissolve, to sink down slowly millimeter by millimeter until just his nubby ears and bright eyes were showing above the sill. The squirrel, the birds, they wouldn’t have cared if he had stood up against the window itself. They were eating well.

At this point those of you who know L and I well are wondering to yourselves, “But what about Pickle?” Our tiny gray kitten that never grew up. Well about her… you see, she’s kind of, well, okay, she’s really… almost impossibly stupid. Dumb enough to not know how to drink water from a bowl stupid. I’m not sure she can see through glass stupid. So the birds, the feeder, the outside world in general remains an unfathomable mystery to her. As does most everything I would guess.

So why did we wait to get a bird feeder? I can’t say. Was it worth it to cave in? Absolutely. That is until next winter when an actual (non-taco) bear wanders by outside on his way toward a cave to hibernate in and decides to tear our feeder from the tree, crack the cylinder in its jaws and guzzle down one last high protein snack.

Watching: Exit Through the Gift Shop

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