Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Blackbirds Are Not Very Bright

When They Were Very Young

I have two Norwegain Forest Cats, brother and sister called Darcy and Pashabelle. They are now about 5 years old, and as we live in a town close to a busy road, they are "caged tigers" as I have enclosed the rear garden with green plastic netting of the sort you might fix to a wall to grow climbing plants such as clematis through.

This is supported by fibre glass tent poles, mostly and some bamboo, and firmly wired together and to the perimeter walls and house. It is defintely cat proof, although Darcy does try it on by walking suspended upside down across it.

One downside is that to prune the encroaching jungle is hard work, and involves shutting the tigers in the house. They are rather large and determined cats who even as kittens broke the catches on the catflap clean off, and they have an aversion to doors being closed. There are often howls of protest and scratchings when I have the temerity to close and lock the bathroom door for reasons of delicacy and privacy.

The result of this additional obstacle to pruning is that the ivy and other climbers are rampant, and ivy produces lots of berries which blackbirds are very fond of, and they ripen in the spring so as to be handy for feeding blackbird chicks.

So the blackbirds nest in the ivy, right on top of the cat caging, which in some cases they incorporate as the foundation. I would not think this a particularly good plan myself. Mostly they get away with it, as the ivy makes it difficult for Darcy, balanced precariously upside down clinging on with three paws, to reach to hoik nestlings out. Pashabelle watches and waits, and then wanders off.

The stupid thing is that the blackbirds can squeeze through to the inside of the cage, and occasionally do. Then they panic and in the confusion the inevitable happens, and there's a corpse left on the kitchen floor or at the foot of the stairs. Considering that Pashabelle sleeps for part of most nights partially on my pillow, I suppose we should be pleased that she doesn't park the corpse there.

And worst, Ma and Pa Blackbird seem to think that the inside of the cage is a great place to arrange first flying lessons for the sprogglings. Spring is sprung, and soon the cycle will begin again.

On the plus side, the newts are thriving in the pond.

The Penguin


Anonymous said...

We have threebastards.

We live near parks, reserves, and a network of rivers.

In the early hours, the crunching of small bones on the foot of bed awakens us.

Faux Cu said...

You have two Norwegian Forest cats?

I thought they were wild as fuck.

Van you stroke your two pussies?

You are very lucky if you can

Lexander said...

Lovely moggies. Not so sure you are accurate about blackbirds and ivy berries as a source of food though. More like they are coming in to find worms and small crawlies. Main point I want to make is that you have a nicer side than first sight gives and clearly as a penguin you must feel some sympathy for the blackbirds!

Faux Cu said...

Van = Can

shitty French leyboard

I had a Bullterrier here in France; scared the shit out of the French.

Mon Dieu Pit Bool!

He is fertilising the cherry tree now, from below, because if he ever scarpered during the cherry season we could always find him hoovering up the fallen cherries.

His shits were amazing.

Now he works for the Cherry Tree.

Cato said...

Blimey, better not let my missus see this post. She's wanted a Forest Cat for years.

The Penguin said...

Norwegian Forest Cats are a lovely lovely breed. Not over-bred, still look like a "proper cat" but larger than most, Pashabelle weighs about 8 kilo at a guess, Darcy leaner but longer fur. Brilliant temperaments, Pashabelle follows me round and tells me what I should be doing. Very determined madam! In the mood, you could fuss them for ages, even sprawl and wave tummies at you but unlike some cats, not a trap but a genuine invite. Oddly his fur tends to gather knots especially in "armpits" but she never gets any.


Be warned, I could drone on...and on...

As to the blackbirds, I have ever sympathy. And they do love the ivey berries, I can see them from my office window as they strip them off the plant. I also have an air rifle to hand, which I bought specifically to keep the local magpies away from the blackbirds and our other feathered visitors, quite effective. Clever buggers, soon as the window opens, they now fuck right off sharpish.