Tuesday, April 06, 2004


I wish we had a cat. Nesting pairs of Mockingbirds and Blue Jays are waging a noisy turf war over our backyard, and it's like the Battle of Midway out there. I think that the berries on one of the trees in the backyard have fermented, making the situation even more obnoxious because the birds alternate between being drunk and belligerent or cranky and hungover. The action begins around 5:00 AM, when we are awakened by their hideous, raspy battle cries, and the onslaught continues well into the morning.

Usually I welcome wildlife and enjoy observing nature. There is a neighborhood Red-Tailed Hawk that sometimes hunts a flock of pigeons outside our front window and the swooping, swinging motion of the hawk as it corrals the pigeons is absolutely hypnotic to watch. If I happen to spot the hawk in action I will stop whatever I'm doing and stand by the window transfixed until something snaps me out of it. Afterward I will often notice that a significant amount of time has passed and a thin trail of spittle is running down the corner of my mouth.

Our backyard birds just seem belligerent and mean. Why couldn't it be beautiful songbirds roosting in the backyard? Both pairs of these birds have become fiercely territorial, and the puppies are caught in the crossfire. Billy was minding his own business trying to poo in the backyard and they were buzzing him like he was King Kong on the Empire State Building. Billy was oblivious, fortunately. I have seen Blue Jays flip cats on their backs - they can be quite vicious.

Speaking of pests, our new neighbors, the 24 hour party people, have installed a hot tub and carry on almost on a nightly basis. Spoon despises their sloppy, dumb, neglected Lab and his presence in the backyard behind ours will send her into a full scale barking jag, her tiny tail quivering in outrage. Border Terrier's were bred to be heard through many feet of earth when they tunnel after varmints, so her bark is jarring.

It could be worse. Some friends of ours had a mockingbird in residence who would imitate car alarms perfectly in pitch and volume.

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