We keep our patio door wide open during these warm summer days, and the other morning a curious Blue Tit overshot the birdfeeder and landed right inside our living room. I didn't notice him until Jake stumbled by in his arthritic clumsiness; it put the little creature into a flutter and gave away his hiding place behind the curtain.
I put my hands out to catch him and called a soft "psich psich" as I reached out, hoping to let him know that I meant no harm. It seemed to work. He calmed right down, and didn't object when I carefully cupped his fragile little body. But I was too concerned about hurting him; although he allowed me to handle him he quickly become impatient with my diffidence, and squirmed right out of my hands and onto my index finger. I straightened up in surprise and turned toward Laird with my little passenger; Laird's eyebrows shot up, and his eyes and mouth softened into an "awwwww...". I was pretty filled with awe myself. I turned again, walked out to the patio and sat down, and the little bird stayed on my finger for a full five minutes. Laird and I chuckled at the little fellow's interest in us, he looked me up and down and stared me in the eye, and swivelled his head to study Laird quite thoroughly too. I was utterly charmed. Finally, reluctantly, the little fellow flew off into the bushes.
I often wonder now whether this bird now recognizes me when I step out the door, but I'm sure we humans all look alike to him. And more confusingly, we change our plumage every morning. How's a bird to know who'se who?
Speaking of birds, I have quite a nice group of regular visitors to the bird feeders outside my windows. Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robins (the "Christopher Robin" kind), Nuthatches, Magpies, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Chaffinches, Blackbirds and and other assorted ground-dwelling Thrushes... and boy, they're noisy. Those Tits can belt out a tune that pierces concrete. At 6:30 in the morning...
Anyway, I get a great kick out of feeding them, but the most fun was watching the birds go crazy over the wads and wads of dog hair that came out of Jake's recent encounter with a brush. I spread a shockingly large quantity of fur (I really should brush him more often) through bushes and along the ground, knowing as I did it that unless the birds acted fast I'd soon be handling complaints from one fastidious elderly neighbour or another. The birds did not disappoint - by morning they were all out there, pulling on it and rolling in it and generally whooping it up. It's mostly all gone now, keeping more than a few clutches of eggs soft and warm through the last cool days of spring.
Here is a great list of foods that can harm your dog. Cooked bones, I knew. Chocolate, I knew. Plastic food wrap, I could have guessed. But onions? Nutmeg? Broccoli?
It's a wonder my old pooch has lasted 15 years.
Last week Jake (yes, he's still with us) had a bladder infection, and the poor fella had to go out to pee every 1/2 hour or so. It was a warm night, so I decided to set him up outside, and sleep on the living room couch to keep an eye on him. I put some blankets down right outside the French door, clipped the line to his collar, then shut the door most of the way, leaving it open a crack so I would hear him if he had any problems.
He laid down on the blankets and seemed as comfortable as he could be under the circumstances. After a while I started drifting off to sleep myself.
Suddenly the door burst open and he came marching through the living room until he was forceably stopped at the end of the line. It was a very unusual and energetic entrance, but I chalked it up to the quirks of an old dog. But it was pretty clear that he wasn't going back out there voluntarily. I unclipped the line, started rolling it up, and stepped out the door to throw it down on the patio. It landed on a large-ish dark ball on the blankets at my feet. A ball? It was pretty dark, and I scratched my head wondering where the ball came from, especially at that time of night. Then Mr. Ball moved and all at once I understood what it was. A hedgehog!!! It must have been curious about Jake and walked right up to him to investigate, which apparently Jake was having no part of.
I grinned from ear to ear. Though hedgehogs are very common around here, I've never seen one of these little cuties before. It unrolled itself and ambled onto the grass, and for the next 15 minutes I watched it snuffle around for worms and yummy big slugs (go Hedgehog, go!) at my feet.
My lucky night. Jake, by the way, has recovered from both the infection and the ballsy little night visitor.
Joggers are in particular peril because the owls will mistake
bouncing hair or pony tails for a squirrel, one of their favourite food
sources, she said. Anything dangly could draw an attack if the owl
mistakes it for a smaller bird or a rodent.
The fact that humans
seldom carry squirrels on their heads makes little difference to young
owls, Day explained. "Barred owls are not the most brilliant of owls.
And these ones are just learning."