Eastern White-breasted Nuthatch, 9/30/2007. Photo by Gary Irwin (Creative Commons 2.0).
Yesterday Jim and I were enjoying the late spring afternoon watching the light change in the trees behind our deck when one of the cats bolted up on the railing and caught a bird. Jim yelled, “She just got a bird” and I said who? It was Star and she headed off with it under the deck. At first I thought all was lost but I didn’t want to give up on saving that bird so soon. I ran outside to try and chase down the cat while calling for Jim to bring my shoes in case I had to go out in the yard. Star stopped under the deck and stood there watching me probably wondering what I was doing. After all she was instinctively doing what she was supposed to do to survive. So why was I telling her to put the bird down? As I stood there looking at her with the bird in her mouth I saw its head move. Just then she headed out into the yard. I went to the railing on the upper deck to see where she was going. She had stopped just outside and dropped the bird in front of her. There it lay not moving. I went to investigate and she moved off and let me pick it up, it was still alive. I cupped it in my hand and went inside the house giving instructions to Jim so he could help me get the box ready to put it in. We both remembered that cats usually don’t kill outright but maim their prey and then play with it a while before they kill and eat it. Maybe the bird will survive. By then it was night outside. We put the box in the garage where it was about 65 degrees. We added a little water and some sunflower seeds in case it wanted to eat and we left it until morning. In the morning I went to check on it and saw it had revived and was fluttering around inside the box. I tried to cup it in my hand so I could transfer it to a bird-cage where I could observe it to make sure it was healed enough to survive but it got away and flew up to the ceiling of the garage. I opened the garage and called to Jim so he could see it before it found the opening. I was a small Nuthatch a beautiful blue-grey. I couldn’t tell how old it was but since it’s just beginning spring I assumed it was an adult as the baby birds haven’t started to arrive. It finally saw the opening and flew out. I watched it fly into the woods it looked strong and not hurt. What a wonderful feeling to save the life of that small creature. I know I can’t save them all but at least I try when I can. Yesterday I saw Trixie with a mouse in her mouth and this morning Jim said they had a baby rabbit down in the woods flipping it up in the air. There were only eight for breakfast so I guess they were all on a hunt.
Our Family Tree
Here is the family tree of our feral colony. Eventually I want to introduce you to each of them as they all have unique personalities, but for now you can see their relationship to each other. The only ones that have not been spayed are the mother, Tom Terrific and the Grey Velour Cat.