July 24th, 2011

laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Tooth and Claw

Another woodpecker has met its demise at the paws of one of the cats. I'm not sure which cat, though. Dozing on the couch as the pines trees speared the sun, I heard a ruckus of birds outside the window. It ended and I thought no more of it, but an hour later I went into the garage, and there saw Portia staring into the dark space behind a large board that leans against the wall.

Suddenly a scrabbling noise came from the darkness, and I thought for a moment that it might be a rat, but as I stepped back, a young woodpecker came out, more hopping than flying over Portia's head and leaping into a narrow space beside the washing machine. Neither I nor the cat could reach the bird, but I wanted to give it a chance to escape so I took Portia indoors. Another hour passed, and I checked the garage to see if the bird was still hiding there. I couldn't find it, so I let Portia back out.

Another hour passed, and I heard the low yowls that usually mark the early stage of a cat fight. It was full night by now. I went out and saw Portia at the end of the driveway, facing away from me. Approaching slowly with my flashlight, I finally saw a glint of eye beyond her, and saw the other cat, crouched near the body of the dead woodpecker. It was Farah, and she was the one making the threatening noise. It wasn't too difficult to snatch Portia and carry her indoors. Later, I went back out and both Farah and the bird corpse were gone.

So I don't know if Portia found and killed the injured woodpecker after it had escaped the garage, or if Farah found it and finished it off. All I know is that it almost ended in a fight between them, and the bird is dead. Farah will undoubtedly offer the prize to her kittens, who will refuse to eat it, and the cadaver will slowly molder somewhere in the back yard. A depressing end to an otherwise quiet Sunday.

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