Friday, February 25, 2011

A Horse's Head

My mom has always loved birds. We grew up going out on Sabbath afternoons armed with the bird book to identify different types of Northern California song birds. However, with the wealth of cats we always had, she was never able to indulge her love of the Avian race in an up close and personal kind of way.

Years later, with all the kids moved out of the house, my parents got a dog that had a fiendish habit of killing cats. Finally there were no cats around to kill her beloved birds, nor any rabbits, gophers, other dogs, or really anything else that moved. But life was busy and she still didn't get the feeders or bird baths installed that she'd always dreamed of. Until this Christmas.....

One of her daughters, who shall remain nameless, but she is an incredibly intuitive and perceptive young (very young) miss, remembered the deeply buried longing of her mom's heart and gave her the perfect gift for Christmas. A big box full of bird seed, a cedar feeder, and a suet feeder with suet block.

Mom was overjoyed at the gift her remarkably charming and graceful daughter gave her, but true to the proud tradition of the Kahrs' clan, the feeders languished in procrastination for a couple more months until today. Wanting to get some bird action before winter was over, my mom had me install them.

The suet hanger was a breeze to hang up, if disgusting to handle since it was filled with congealed animal fat. The feeder was a little more difficult because all the branches easy to get to would have concealed it from the window where my mom planned to watch her birds cavorting. The only one that left it exposed also left it about 3 feet off the ground.

"I think it's too low, Tina."

"It will be fine. Besides, you need to be able to see it."

"OK, but I think we're hanging up a cat feeder, not a bird feeder."

"It will be fine."

Later that day I went out to move the van. I saw a feather. Or three or four. Hmmmmm. Look at the feathers that the wind seems to have blown into Mom's yard. I scanned the rest of the snowy expanse. More feathers. Hmmmmmm. It seems some cat has caught a bird somewhere else and dragged it through Mom's yard on its way to eat it.

After moving the van I walked up the driveway and nearly stepped on the little bird's head, neatly laid out on the snow like something from "The Godfather". I believe we have just received notice from Westby's feline population.

I moved the feeder higher.


  1. *I* am young (very young).
    Noni Beth

  2. We have a whole herd of cats, but we keep them indoors, so the birds are not in any danger from them. What really drives my husband crazy is the deer, who love to raid his many bird feeders. He actually strung up an electric fence to keep the deer away from the bird feeders! Now there's devotion for you.

  3. I have a yorkie who considers his mission in life to clean the world of birds and squirrels. And he does so with unwavering enthusiasm and dedication. Haven't had a bird or a squirrel any where near our yard (or the neighbors in any direction) for six years now. If he even hears you whisper "birds and squirrels" he goes from a dead sleep to out the door like a shot to patrol his universe.

  4. Truth told, I'm skeptical that the cat got the bird at the feeder. There were no cat footprints in the snow around the feeder and I hadn't seen any birds there yet, but if it was caught somewhere else, it had some pretty doggone bad timing! >:(