Saturday, 16 April 2011

God's in his heaven

So while he is minding the shop who is looking after my birds?
Every morning I put out a variety of seed and other feed-stuffs for the garden birds.  They are busy (it is the breeding season) and need to get at food easily and without having to work too hard for it, if their young are to flourish.

This morning I noticed the container for fat balls was empty so headed for the shed to get some more.  There was a terrific racket and all (but one) of the birds feeding on the ground took off in a cloud.  The unfortunate one, a female blackbird, was clutched tightly in the jaws of "Hercules" a neighbour's massive murderous tom.

Since I had nothing to throw at hand I quickly attached the hose (left lying below the outside tap) and turned a jet on said miscreant.  As the jet hit him, he didn't drop the poor bird, he merely bit into it's neck sneered at me and trotted slowly off to munch the poor little victim.

Now, don't misunderstand me, I know nature 'red in tooth and claw' operates in all sectors of animal - and some human - life, but if I can, I will do anything in my power to prevent predators from winning within my reach.  After all, this is a well (very well) fed pet who needs birds as a snack like I need running shoes, so I feel no guilt whatever in trying my best to deter the little stinker from his murderous assaults.

My next-door neighbour whose garden has been turned into a charnel house for feathered victims, hates him with a passion, but is never quick enough to stop him in his tracks.  She informs me that he averages about five birds a day.

Much as I love cats, this is, in my opinion totally over-the-top and when I do occasionally manage to drown him so he drops his prey I feel quite elated as it flies off.

I just hope my guardian angel doesn't fly by any time Hercules is about, the feathers would be such a temptation.


  1. The only thing I can suggest, Ray, is not to feed the birds on the ground. Can you not find a higher, flat surface on which to put the bird food - one which a very large cat might have difficulty in reaching? I love cats, but know their nature and would never feed birds where a cat could reach them.

  2. I have the same problem - with both my neighbor's and my own cat. My cat doesn't even eat the birds - just kills them and brings them to the door as a "gift." I go out and holler, clap hands, throw stuff, etc. and that helps, but I can't be there all the time. I did put a bell on my cat's collar and that has helped.

  3. In my garden it's the visit of the sparrowhawk that has seen the demise of the birds!! My two cats prefer mice and frogs to bring home as gifts...

  4. We have a sparrowhawk as well - and I've managed to reconcile myself to it's need to feed, but a well-fed family cat hardly needs to snack on birds. You are quite right to turn the hose. How about trying a water spray of the kind that is used to refresh indoor plants? It would be easier and maybe quicker.

  5. Perpetua

    Unfortunately my garden is too small to have any such area, and while I do have hanging feeders all round there are a number of birds which only feed on the ground.

    I generally make sure the coast is clear before throwing out food for these.


    This one 'marauder' has a bell round his fat neck but unfortunately the birds are so used to the semi-comatose other moggies around that they think he is uninterested too. Bad mistake!

  6. Judy and Freda
    Yes sparrowhawks are awful to watch in action and I do get an occasional visit from one, but the ginger tom is a far worse threat.
    I did try a spray which I kept on the kitchen work-surface but it doesn't reach as far as the hose.

    Thanks all for your suggestions.

  7. Ray I just realised I had called my latest post 'Gods in his heaven" as well!
    Have just got home from Sussex to catch up with Google Reader. Your neighbours cat sounds nasty. We have some vicious ones coming into our garden and even Samson is scared of them. Dont know what to do-I too have a large childrens water gun but am never quick enough. I now hang the bird feeders as high as possible. A Jack Russell would be good....

  8. Hi Margaret
    My neighbour's cat is propbably no nastier than most un-monitored predator cats (his people leave him out for very long hours at a time).
    It's just that I was able to train 2 of the four cats we had not to hunt, the 3rd was totally indifferent to birds, and the 4th was a hunter but could easily be distracted from her pursuits.
    As to the title, mine are almost always borrowed so liable to being echoed elsewhere, not in any way a problem.
    Easter Blessings.