Protecting Us From Baby Birds and Lizards, 24/7

The baby bird was maimed and found lying on a garden stone.  Pumpkin,  occasional huntress and domestic garage cat, was toying with her prey.  Her sister Angel was eyeing the goings-on with interest.
Naturally we were all  distressed to see this baby bird on the ground, and the cats deciding which of them would have it for herself.  Lily tried to pick it up so we could at least get it out of harm’s way but the bird fluttered nervously from her hand. It skittered over to and sort of burrowed itself instinctively into the mulch pile nearby. It was remarkable how effectively this former tree camouflaged the baby bird. (None of this fake, dyed mulch here at beachlife house. Real gardeners prefer real mulch. Beachlife housewife’s a bit of a mulch snob.)  

Pumpkin, from whose mouth this tiny bird was rescued, sits proudly in the foreground.

Over the years we’ve become accustomed to stepping over maimed and half consumed bodies of small lizards in the garage.  I’ve actually become blase about seeing a lizard with its top half gone, presumably in the digestive tract of Angel or Pumpkin. Sometime it’s the lower portion that’s missing, leaving a lizard head with its eyes open and front legs outstretched, as though it had a chance, still, to dart away from either of these  hobbyist predators.

These our are sweet family pets, although my husband’s “allergies” require that they live in the garage. Whatever.  Four out of five of us love our cats and appreciate their own little personalities.  The fifth of us doesn’t get cats.  And with cats, I think, you either get them, or you don’t.  There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground about cats.  

So they pretty much enjoy their daily diet of Purina One and water, with the occasional lizard thrown in for sport and maybe some extra protein. I suppose their vigilance keeps those lizards from darting into the house and for that I’m truly grateful.  I know that gecko and small lizard images are beloved by many but frankly, lizards in the house skeeve me out.  So does having to dispose of a mutilated carcass but I’ve learned to look the other way.

I can’t remember a time when either of the cats successfully nabbed a bird or other small creature.  The cat of my youth would often leave her prizes (usually dead birds) at our back door. I suppose my Dad took care of its remains. So when we found Pumpkin with her baby bird, there was much to-do, and wondering what to do.

I sent Lily over to Mr. M for his advice (and secretly hoping he’d come over and get me out of this!) but she was soon back saying “all he knows about are sea turtles.”  Great.  Now I have to be the mom and deal with it.   But wait!  The tree guys were here, finally removing the palm that had cracked a week ago,
so I asked him.   He gently petted both cats, (he gets cats) told the kids it was ‘just nature’ and cradled the bird gently so we could see how badly it was injured.
(iPhone not at her best in these images which really is  why she’s NOT a real camera despite her often splendid performance at times.)
Tree guy decided it was best to let the little bird “rest” in the woods and went off to lay it down, particularly to hide it from the cats.

After dinner my husband and I decided to go for a short walk here:
and when we opened the door to go into the garage…yikes!  That bird was back.  Right there on the welcome mat. This time, it was Angel who’d claimed it.  (How did that cat find the bird? Tree guy’d hidden it pretty well.) Its head was already gone, and we could hear the tiny bones, crunching, as she licked her lips.  Truly a disturbing sight (which I had the courtesy not to photograph.)  

I reminded my husband (remember? the fifth family member, the one who does not get cats?) that when a cat brings her prey to your back door like that, it’s an honor.  She’s brought her prize home to her family.
Good guy that he is, he did not make me sweep up my cat’s carnage.  He did it, just like the guy should. 

Angel, meanwhile, sat there, content.  You could hardly blame her.  After all, “it’s nature”.


  1. Marghie says:

    You writing makes one feel like they are right there beside you experiencing what you are seeing. Poor baby bird!

  2. Mickey Johnson says:

    …sad but funny too! poor wee baby bird. oh well that’s nature. we live on a small farm and we have found “nature’s” handling of our wee ducks on our pond…well some feathers anyway. btw…i appreciate that you use real mulch! mickey

  3. Sink says:

    I can here the music….”The Circle of Life…” Or else, Sylvester and Tweetie. And Sylvester finally wins!
    Thanks for the smile.

  4. Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five says:

    Can I say, “YUK?!”
    But, I would like to go take a short walk on the beach.

  5. Mari says:

    am i going to sound too terrible if i say, “it’s darwins survival of the fittest.” it is.

    i’m with you though, when our cats have brought a ‘prize’ home to show and tell with i always call for my husband to come and deal with it, move it out of my sight, reminding him i am a vegetarian even if my cats are not.

    our dogs on the constant mission to nab a squirrel off the fence or out of a tall tree. sadly they haven’t figured out that a 2lbs squirrel is too smart for a 120lns dog that barks loudly while in chase 🙂 squirrels are at least protected in our yard.

    i love the way you write!

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