Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fatal flight

July 17, 2007

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To the editor:

For several years, I have looked forward each spring to seeing again (likely) the same pair of house wrens that has chosen to nest in a birdhouse in our backyard. Normally arriving in late April, after an arduous return migration from Mexico, the little male wren's vibrant song speaks assurances that nature remains persistent at our house in Lawrence.

I took special interest this year in watching them raise their young. Of six tiny eggs laid sometime in mid-June only three hatched, on June 30. I was alerted to their birth when the parents' previously inconspicuous behavior was replaced by constant forays in search of small insects to feed the demanding chicks. This continued literally nonstop for the next two weeks, and I quickly began to admire the intense devotion of the parents even while I was calculating the benefits of having some limited natural pest control.

On Sunday morning, I could tell something in their routine was about to change, because instead of flying directly to the nest hole with a mouthful of insects, the male perched on the house and warbled insistently for about 20 minutes (try that with a mouthful of bugs). Sure enough one of the fledglings eventually emerged from the hole, and after more fatherly encouragement, bravely set wing on its first awkward flight low across the yard and straight into the patient and waiting paws of someone's cat!

Scott W. Campbell,

Lawrence

Comments

Ragingbear 7 years, 11 months ago

While sad, this letter also caused me to laugh. Reminded me of the AFHV clip where a kid had his pet mouse outside and a hawk snatched it.

craigers 7 years, 11 months ago

"I'm free...Oh crap, where are the breaks?!!??"

Ragingbear, I too laughed pretty hard at this letter.

craigers 7 years, 11 months ago

"I'm free...Oh crap, where are the brakes?!!??"

Ragingbear, I too laughed pretty hard at this letter.

Linda Endicott 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes, it's sad, but it's nature...it happens. Don't go blaming the cat. Did you get sad when that papa wren killed all those bugs to feed their young? (Because I see a decided slant in this letter against those evil, evil cats...sarcasm intended.)

This is one instinct you can't take out of a cat, domesticated or not. Just as you wouldn't be able to get the birds to eat only seeds instead of bugs.

So in the same breath they're lauding the birds for giving them free pest control, and complaining about the cat.

There are lots of trees outside at the group home where I work. For several years now, we've watched birds nest and raise their young. Tragedy happens in nature all the time. Last year we saw one baby robin that fell out of the nest. Nothing to do with cats in the neighborhood. Another time we found two robin's eggs that had inadvertantly been pushed out of the nest by the parents themselves. Still sad, but not the fault of a cat.

This is why I never watch nature shows on TV anymore. I know stuff like this happens in nature, but I don't want to see it. A beautiful zebra is grazing, and the next thing you know, there's the lion...or the hyena...

But I sure as hell don't think it's FUNNY...

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't know about funny, but it's frickin' awesome, that's for sure. Smart cat!

Linda Endicott 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, a cat's skill at catching things is awesome, I guess...

But I still think it's ironic that the bird got caught on his very first flight...

Linda Endicott 7 years, 11 months ago

Ironic...maybe ironic is the word, Jonas...

Charles L Bloss Jr 7 years, 11 months ago

It is a cat's natural behavior, as much as I hate it. We have 2 cats and a black lab. All but one of them go out and kill anything they can find. I hate it. We feed them all well. I have saved several mice from one of the cat's mouth while they were still alive. We haven't had the other cat real long, but she doesn't seem nearly as prone to that behavior. It is difficult to understand nature. I hate to see my animals kill other innocent animals for no reason, other than the apparent joy of doing it. Of course there is more to it than that. It is part of their nature I suppose, but as a pet owner I detest it as much as the writer of the letter. Thank you, Lynn

Bradley Menze 7 years, 11 months ago

My 18 yr. old cat with bad back legs and no top teeth nailed a full-grown robin in our garden the other night. It was pretty cool. He's the best cat ever.

Ralph: My cat's breath smells like cat food.

Charles L Bloss Jr 7 years, 11 months ago

It is a cat's natural behavior, as much as I hate it. We have 2 cats and a black lab. All but one of them go out and kill anything they can find. I hate it. We feed them all well. I have saved several mice from one of the cat's mouth while they were still alive. We haven't had the other cat very long, but she doesn't seem nearly as prone to that behavior. It is difficult to understand nature. I hate to see my animals kill other innocent animals for no reason, other than the apparent joy of doing it. Of course there is more to it than that. It is part of their nature I suppose, but as a pet owner I detest it as much as the writer of the letter. Thank you, Lynn

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

O-Bob: I've heard, too, that outdoor cats are the main reason for fireworks violations, and thus housefires. Clearly, we need to get rid of this outdoor menace, for the wrens, the children, and the safety of the community as a whole.

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

And no, Crazyks, I meant awesome, not ironic. I love cats, and somewhat detest small birds. Except for Hummingbirds, nature's crack fiend. Probably the Looney Tunes influence.

Big hunter birds are cool as hell though. Especially when they kill and eat smaller birds.

Down with small birds! And small frickin' dogs too!

Charles L Bloss Jr 7 years, 11 months ago

I thought we went over all this yesterday? Thank you, Lynn

Linda Endicott 7 years, 11 months ago

You got a problem with talking about something more than once, Lynn?

I don't. Doesn't bother me.

Do you have a short attention span?

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

Well ok, CrazyKS, I'll concede you an ironic since you conceded me an awesome. But ours will both remain qualified.

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