shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


wild backyard kingdom

It was quite a traumatic morning here at Casa Bond/Rowe. We'd given up trying to get rid of the birds, since all the research I managed to dig up said waiting it out was the only real option, and started admiring them.

When we got home last night, there were three cats stalking the backyard and being dive-bombed -- one white, one black and one gray. The white cat would not be persuaded to leave until she felt like it, no matter how close the giant mother bird of doom got to her. It wasn't personal to George, the birds were obviously protecting a nest somewhere, protecting a huge perimeter around our house in an impressive way if you ignored the annoyance.

This morning, however, I decided it'd be okay to let George out the back for his morning constitutional while Christopher was showering. We'd overslept, but not too badly. The birds immediately attacked, several of them, and for the first time: George noticed. He trotted back toward the door, but he had something in his mouth. I couldn't see, because it was completely tucked inside, but I knew what it was.

I did what I always do in these situations, I freaked out. Poor George, instinctually burdened with hundreds of years of breeding that tells him this is the kind of thing one gets a big reward for (bringing a dead bird proudly into the house). So, I shut the door on his tail-waggingness, the birds not quite able to get so close to him because he was sheltered from them somewhat. I force Christopher from the shower and he goes outside to have a word with George and, yes, it's a baby bird.

Now, George didn't kill this bird. There wasn't time or violence. It was those cats. We think there are still babies left, possibly moved around to the front of the house (that should be safer). We're pretty sure these birds are ground nesters, which is going to create problems when the yard gets mowed. They are a crack team, I'll give them that, they followed us out the front when we let George out a second time and trailed us to the car. The mother bird flew down to the dead bird as we were leaving to get Christopher to work. All very distressing. I didn't see or hear them at all when I came back, or when I left to go to work myself. I'm pulling for them now though, hoping they can manage to defend whatever offspring are left from those self-satisfied cats.

Reading through the WP Style section this morning, I happened on Choire Sicha's review of Between Two Rivers by Nicholas Rinaldi, where he namechecks the fantastic Joy Williams. This made me want to seek out some Joy Williams on the intarweb -- there's remarkably, sadly little actually -- and I found her wonderfully acid Granta essay, "The Case Against Babies", about obviously enough why we don't need anymore babies (and including a rant on Cabbage Patch babies).

Babies, babies, babies. There's a plague of babies. Too many rabbits or elephants or mustangs or swans brings out the myxomatosis, the culling guns, the sterility drugs, the scientific brigade of egg smashers. Other species can 'strain their environments' or 'overrun their range' or clash with their human 'neighbours', but human babies are always welcome at life's banquet. Welcome, Welcome, Welcome—Live Long and Consume!

I felt somehow better immediately. I'll leave you with a couple more lines that are perfect and beautiful, whether you agree with them or not.

Babies are one thing. Human beings are another. We have way too many human beings. Almost everyone knows this.

And if there weren't so damn many of us, those birds would have a safer place to nest. Period.

worm "Bam Thwok," The Pixies

namecheck Chris "Love Shack" Barzak


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