Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tiger, tiger burning bright

My eldest daughter had an environmental impact on my youngest daughter. “D’you know that domestic cats kill zillions of small mammals every year just for fun!” She tells me this nugget of information in a tone of outrage, although her words are directed at one of our two pet cats.

The cat, as cats do, wanders of with a disdainful air.


I am knee deep in recycling in the garage, ignoring the laundry, the filth in the house and several unmade beds, when I am summoned to the garden by a catawalling. Cats wail and birds twitter. The combination is not a happy one. I shoo the cat away and look above to find a smallish bird swinging upside down from the light fitting, attached to a few inches of green netting. I watch for a moment or two to see if it is about to escape. I wonder how long it has been dangling? First light? I survey the terrain. It is impossible for either cat to get within swiping or gnashing distance of the bird. The bird is safe. Very shortly the bird will catch it’s breath and fly away. I wait for the bird to fly away. I hide behind the door just in case my presence prevents flying. It dangles from one claw. “Go on! Fly away! I have very important things to do! My recycling is saving the planet! You are making the planet wait!” It ignores me.

Damned bird.

I am under no moral obligation to the bird, in fact, it’s a trespasser. There are no children to chide me and the neighbours have other business to attend too. I need to return to my recycling duties. Mother Earth needs every cohort she can get.

Damned bird.

I stomp off into the garage to find the step ladder, remove several yards of cob webs and drag it out to the front door. I look at the small bird. I nip back inside to find scissors, bifocals and a tea towel.

As I climb the ladder the damned bird flaps and dives seeking an escape route. The tea towel subdues the fluttering as I snip the netting and return to the ground. I swear that’s the last time I ever refill the bird feeder. It only encourages the little blighters.

On closer inspection, adjustment of bifocals and careful manipulation of the tea towel, it appears that the bird has managed to wrap itself in the netting, not just the claw. I’m surprised it hasn’t strangled itself. It is worse that untangling knitting. Which way is a tiny wing supposed to bend? I shall probably snap something fatal. I wonder why wish bones are so resilient? I give up with the tea towel and use my extra large hands as a cage. I notice that the kitchen scissors are three times as large as the bird. The bird is warm and incapable of remaining static. It probably has fleas or parasites or something else that I’ve never heard of and don’t want to know about. I cover it’s head so that I can concentrate on the body the size of a golf ball. As the last thread of green falls away I turn my hand over, let it’s head pop out between my fingers and insert my arm into the nearest shrub. Release. I sit back on my hunkers whilst the bird vandalizes the perennials.

I expect the onions on the stove are cremated by now.

Damned bird.

Score- cats = zillion -1
Wildlife = +1

Meanwhile, "life" continues in the "slow lane."


Expatmum said...

I am very impressed that you did all that with your bare hands. I think I would have had to turn all girlie-girl and get the ball and chain to do something.
And good on you helping the planet. I bought a composter on Friday and am feeling very virtuous.

Whitenoise said...

great story ;-)

Tim said...

Good Job! :)