Sunday, July 22, 2007

Flying smoke alarm invasion

Herself thinks that putting on the feathers is just too much. I don't think so. Although the giant "worm" made from a discarded vacuum cleaner-hose and painted reddish might be taking things a little far.

But such is the level to which I have been reduced, wearing a dark-coloured boa and flapping about in snorkeling flippers in my back yard, competing in avian psychology with a savage blackbird which has been terrorising the neighbourhood for the past two weeks.

It started innocently enough with Herself and myself "Oooh"-ing and "Aaah"-ing at the lovely trills and warbles from last year's incumbent in the blackbird territory which appears to extend from the bottom of our road -- three or four back gardens in length -- to the top -- maybe another ten or twelve gardens' worth in the other direction. Last year's cock of the walk was a handsome chappy that battled it out in song with his near neighbours.

This year a new pretender has muscled in. And it isn't only other blackbirds which are considered enemies and intruders.

I thought the cats would naturally be a cause of the incessant "Shreep! Shreep! Shreep!" bird alarm calls, but then I realised the cats were inside the house and the only one around was me, minding my own business in a white, plastic garden chair in the rare patch of sunlight.

"Shreep! Shreep! Shreep! Shreep! Shreep!" the bugger says. And not only that: he flies up to the roof of the house in his Shreeping, then down to the wall, then onto the shed roof. On the shed, he ruffs up his tail feathers and makes a mock charge at me, holding his wings up suddenly to make a threatening flurry.

"That only works on other blackbirds, stupid," I said to him. But he kept right on Shreeping. It was getting on my nerves, setting my broken teeth on the last of their edges.

At one point, our tabby cat arrived outside to survey the scene. She watched him go from shed to house to wall to shed to house to wall again. The evil little puss waited until he had gone out of sight then nonchalantly placed herself in ambush on a piece of junk lying up against the wall.

"Swish!" went her claws as he landed briefly on the uppermost concrete block. He dodged easily. But no. He didn't fly away in fear, as might be expected of a reasonable blackbird. He took up position on top of the shed roof and added a "Chuck! Chuck!" to the "Shreep! Shreep! Shreep!" for a while.

The cats are bemused. His strategy is working, because they have generally made it known that they are less comfortable in the back garden during the day than before. Myself, I tend to stay indoors and close the double-glazed windows so I can't hear him. When he doesn't have me to bully, he Shreeps at wood pigeons and women hanging washing.

I have heard him from inside our kitchen and walked boldly outside clapping my hands loudly. This has some effect -- maybe because it has an auditory component that the little fecker understands -- because he ducks over the perimeter into another garden out of reach and "Shreeps!" at me from a safe distance. But it's only a temporary respite. I need to show him who the boss is.

So in the end I find myself in the black boa and the flippers, clutching a giant fake worm. If he wants to be top of the pecking order around here he's in for a disappointment. I can strut better than him, and catch bigger worms, and flap bigger wings. Just watch me, little birdy!

Herself has gone to watch the television news.

She says she's not answering the door to any more policemen.


Angh said...

Thank you thank you THANK YOU...this absolutely made my day worth smiling for a change. You've got a rare gift, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Great story Willie.

Anonymous said...

anonymous.tis Joan *S*

Willie_W said...

Hi Joanonymous....

Willie_W said...

Angh >> We can but try.