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Bravest Bird

Soon after we moved here, Scott hung this bird feeder up on my office window . It has a silver mirror panel, so the idea is, the birds can’t SEE IN and don’t know I am sitting here, trying to work on a new novel and desperate to be distracted, as I ALWAYS am in the beginning.

The feeder was up for more than four months, but it was apparently too spooky-close to the house for the delicacies within to be tempting. Then one day, only a few weeks ago, a little tufty headed fellow landed on top for a nanosecond. He peered in at me, trying to ascertain in a lightning pause if I might be a bird murdering sort.

He did ENDLESS perch-bys: land, crane, peer, flee, land, peer, crane, flee. Lather, rinse, panickedly repeat. Gradually his peerings got longer, and within a week, he was sitting down in there, gorging himself multiple times daily at his own private Seed Smorgasbord.

I named him Bravest Bird. After another week, he was joined by Second Bravest Bird, who was some sort of speckledy house wren, and then Yellow Stripe Eye, then Red Throat, and finally Little Fat Bluesy. Now I have a HOST of all five kinds, a constant stream of finches and wrens and bluebirds and I don’t know whats, and now it is impossible to tell if the current little tufty topped fellow is Actual Bravest Bird or Bravest Bird Cousin #97.

At first, the merest glimpse of Mango would send them scurrying, but once again, Bravest Bird came ANYWAY one day, and then again, and then AGAIN, and after watching him fail to be rended in twain, they started ignoring his existence.

Now they come no matter where my personal assistant is, be he in my lap, on Scott’s chair, or ON THE ACTUAL DESK just under the feeder. Every now and again, he will leap at the glass and bat at them, and even Bravest zips away. But then they all come right back.

It helps that Mango is an extremely low-key, groovy object, and mostly he lolls and MOANS at them. It is HILARIOUS. Most days, he can’t QUITE rouse himself to launch what he has learned is a futile attack, but he BLEATS like a goat, going EH-EH-EH-EH-EH in a quietly desperate murder-song. Sometimes, like in this picture, he moans it in his twilight cat-nap sleep, staring at them with through half-dreaming eyes, his feet clenching and unclenching, paws shredding imaginary versions of all my tufty little friends.

Mango is an EXCELLENT personal assistant, by the way. His duties include sitting on me and purring, insistently putting his hairy face into my lunch, rubbing his scent glands all over me, and napping on the router so that it overheats and crashes my system. He is EXCEPTIONALLY FINE at all these functions. Really, the best personal assistant since Gompers.

He is even more excellent than I DREAMED or even HOPED when I hired him—and my hopes were high. Sometimes, looking at the verdant rich orange glow of his silky perfection, I find myself crying out, spontaneously declaring my fervent adoration.

“OH! I LOVE YOU SO! I LOVE YOU SO!” I say, only to have my husband turn toward me, say, “I love you, too, Swee—Joss, are you talking to that cat again?”

Beloveds, you know I am MORE than passing fond of Mr. Husband, but sometimes? Sometimes, I AM talking to the cat in a tone that has here-to-fore been reserved for him. What can I tell you?

The heart wants what the heart wants.

14 comments to Bravest Bird

  • I love birdies. I love watching birdies eat seeds. I think Mango is lovely. And that is ONE COMFY CHAIR you’ve got there, missy.

  • And also, we had a little feeder on the back porch of our first home. It was in the line of sight of my then smallish daughter. At nine months, she spoke her first word. It wasn’t “Mama” or “Dada” or “ball.” You guessed it–it was “bird.” Actually, it came out “BUH!!!” And in a righteously indignant tone, I might add, as I was blocking her fine views of the “buhs” as they flung millet and sunflower seeds all over the back porch.

  • Linda J

    I don’t have any lovely birdie stories but I feel that exactly same way about my eldest fur-baby. His brown eyes lured me in and I’ve been his ever since. I know the way you feel.

  • Brigitte

    Hmmm, now I think about it, my fuzzy baby DOES hear declarations of love more often than DH. Oops!

  • cakeburnette

    I love my Phoebes at least as much as my hubby. Some days considerably more. 😉

  • I talk to my cats all the time, whether it be to tell one of them that he is my sweetest of hearts, or another that he needs to attend to his butt-grooming. But we have six cats (seven if you count the neighbor’s cat that thinks it is my job to feed him), and they all go outside, so we will never see another bird again for the foreseeable future.

  • Lulu

    My Seymour cat (RIP) used to sit on the windowsill and tsk, grumble and growl at the birds. He was agoraphobic and would not go outside by choice, but he sure loved growling at the birds through the window.

    I have 3 bird feeders and we can go through up to 50 lbs of birdseed in a week. Right now our main customers are finches, wrens, juncos, mourning doves, and quail – fat, fat quail that lurch and ramble up the road on foot and are the most fun to watch. I wish we had bluebirds, too – they are lovely!

  • Pie

    In our house lexicon the “EH-EH-EH-EH-EH” noise is ‘the helicopter meow’, or, as a verb, ‘helicopter-ing’. Our cat Isabel helicopters at particular leaves from our Magnolia tree, though we have yet to figure out her criteria for which leaves deserve such treatment.

  • Zoey used to sit on our second floor balcony railing in a tight little fuzz ball and watch the birdies at the feeder, but never once in our line of sight did she make any move to molest our feathered visitors. We were fooled into a false sense of security. We thought our biggest problem was the piratical squirrels and Zoey’s presence seemed to keep them at bay. So we would leave her out there for hours. (There was no way for her to get off the balcony so this was our concession to insisting she be a house cat after nearly getting herself killed by facing off with a Copperhead). Then, one day, Zoey stomped into the kitchen with her cheeks puffed out making “mack, mack, mack” noises. Mike grabbed her thinking she was about to hack up a hairball and out popped a hummingbird. A hummingbird!?!? My flabby feline is not fast or stealth. I think she may have yawned and the silly little creature flew in to investigate. Good news is, he was spit-covered and stunned but totally unharmed. After a few minutes rest, he was released back into the wild with one hell of a Jonah-type story to tell his friends.

  • Brigitte

    I love that story, Trisha!

  • I love your Mango posts. Hocus mostly sleeps on my jacket, which he finds and somehow wrestles to the ground. He also stands behind my chair and meows. Loudly. Last week, I was upstairs and thought I heard someone yell “Mom.” I opened the door and shouted back. The kids hadn’t called me though. It was the cat. He can now meow a word very much like mom and do so loudly enough that I hear him upstairs behind a closed door. Hubby loves it when Hocus practices this meow at 5 in the morning. *sarcasm*

  • Jessica (the celt)

    Heheh I had a cat that would muhr-rowr at hair ties. If one fell off the ledge onto the floor, she’d pick it up, put it in the bathtub, and bat it all around, all the while doing that plaintive, eerie muhr-rowwwrr. (If you were nearby, I could do a very good facsimile of this for you myself, according to my husband.) If you got up to see what was going on, she’d hop out of the tub and sit in the hallway like she hadn’t been up to anything. It took me months to figure out what the heck she was actually doing in there. Sometimes, if she didn’t feel like getting in the tub, she’d bat it around the bathroom. If it got stuck behind the door or the sink, she’d cry at it and cry at it, apparently asking it to come back out and play. Again, though, if you went to see what was up, she’d be sitting in the hallway, acting like nothing was going on.

    I absolutely love the cat-ratchet sounds. I think it has to do with something flying, because our cats have all only made the noise toward moths, flies, birds, and other airborne things.

  • I just signed up for your e-mailish thing–although I’m not certain my obscure zip code will generate any e-mails about you coming my direction. I very nearly put a BEARD zip code that is actually IN Houston rather than 50 miles outside of Houston just in case.

  • I am often distracted from writing the middle parts of my stories, and I look outside also at the animals. I like the name “Little Fat Bluesy,” and the pictures of your orange personal assistant. I could not help but laugh. We have an outdoor orange tabby who brings little “sacrifices” to our doors; such as bats, birds and mice. I suppose it is a thank you for feeding him in his mind.