Monday, July 11, 2011

Killer Instinct!

Killer instinct, but no hunger! Why is it that cats chase birds only to catch and kill, but not eat? I know it is an instinct, they are programmed to do it, but why is the instinct still there when they have no other natural reason to kill? Why kill and not eat? You would have thought that evolution (or is that devolution?) would link those two urges, to eat and kill. Both or none, but that seems not to be the case.

My regular readers know that I feed birds in our garden and have had problems before with killer cats. These days I keep the shrub next to the feeders clear nearest the ground not to give any predators anywhere to hide. But cats are lightning quick when it comes to killing. Birds feeding off the ground are easy prey.

An incident the other week made me take another security step. I was upstairs when I heard a terrifying scream from the garden; I rushed to a window only to see the one we call “Socks”, because of its white paws, carry away a Great Spotted Woodpecker!

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I was down in the garden in a flash, ran after the cat, with the poor bird in its jaws, into the copse behind the garden, only to hear the heart-breaking screaming continue for what seemed an eternity, until it suddenly stopped.

The following day I went to a garden centre and bought some of those green-plastic-coated metal sticks and some wire. I made my own cat (de)fence, with the intention of at least slowing down the furry felines enough for the innocent little birdies to take off and save their lives.

Cat (de)fence

It seems to be working, and the wonderful twist on the story is that the birds now have even more places to sit while they are waiting for a chance to have a nourishing meal.

I feel much better about myself now that I have turned a death trap into a bird sanctuary.


Matthew Rees said...

Nice story.

oreneta said...

YEAH!!! Good on you keeping those cats out, or at least slowing them down. They get plenty of kibble, no killing the birdies!

swenglishexpat said...

Matthew - Thanks
Oreneta - Thanks for moral support. I still hardly see any cats lurking under there!

janeywan said...

Oh that is sad! I feel the birds in WC but here in Denver I don't because of the darn squirrels! Our neighborhood has and infestation of them as does the rest of the city.

swenglishexpat said...

Janey Wan - Oh, those aggressive big bullies you have over there are much more difficult to deal with. They have nearly made the red squirrels in the UK extinct. Here in Germany they sit next to the birds on the ground and just feed, not fight or kill. Niiice red little squirrel. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh NO - poor woodpecker!