Sunday, 22 February 2009

Kitchen sink dramas 2

Two other frequent stars in the unfolding garden dramas viewed from my kitchen sink are a pair of jays. The male, caught here eyeing with a measure of malevolence my overweight tabby, Buddy, is a superb mimic. One day a couple of years back when summer rain was coming down in sheets, I was distracted from my work by a persistent, piteous mewing, too insistent to be ignored. I eventually went to the kitchen window to investigate, accompanied by the intrepid Buddy, also responding to the cries of distress, presumably of a neighbour's cat. We both stared down into the garden, but could see no sign of a suffering moggy, though the plaintif mewling increased in volume. Then I noticed the jay on our garden fence and, as I stared, realised that the movement of his beak synchronised exactly with each yowling miaow. That was no rain-drenched feline, but a devious feathered impersonator.

The jays were frequent visitors that year, as they had nested nearby, but tragedy followed when both their fledglings were killed by the cat from the house whose garden backs onto mine. Their kitchen door and cat flap was at first floor level like my kitchen window and I had a clear view as day after day the grieving parent birds perched on the roof above the cat flap and attacked each time the murderous offender dared to poke its head out.

The squirrels share their peanuts and fat balls with the jays most days.

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