Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Magpie Distraction

Look at this sweet, adorable kitty snuggling with her SantaFroggy. Doesn't she look gentle, harmless and loving? Ha!

She's a cat.

The hardwood floor guy was putting the vent covers into the floor as I watched when we suddenly heard a loud squawking and wild thrashing. I knew Kitsu had caught a bird and brought it in through the cat door.

I ran for the basement stairs, but it was too late. The riot rampaged through the kitchen and into the bedroom where I've been camping for the last five months. I ran through the bedroom door just in time to see a large and screaming magpie crash into the miniblinds with a flying orange cat hot on its tail. The bird and cat bounced off the blinds, rattling and thrashing.

Sachi, who'd been snoozing on the bed, fled the scene with her tail the size of a two liter soda bottle.

I hollered, "Leave that bird alone!" as cat and bird crashed into the miniblinds again.

The floor guy hauled in behind me to watch the commotion, laughing his butt off as I made a leap for the bird.

Kitsu knocked it away from me.

I made another grab and got two tail feathers.

The magpie screamed louder and crashed again into the miniblinds. This time it fell onto the dresser and I pounced.

Got it!

I clutched the bird to my chest and spun around rapidly so Kitsu wouldn't see where it had gone. She jumped onto the dresser and tried to jam herself down the crack between dresser and wall.

I casually sauntered from the room, holding the magpie snug against me. The squawking had stopped the instant I cradled the bird to my breast. Both the bird and I were panting like marathon runners.

"Won't it bite you?" the floor guy asked. "Oh my heck, it's got a funny looking tongue!"

I leaned against the wall for a moment until the bird and I both stopped panting. I stroked its head as it calmed.

"No," I told the floor guy, "I've got a way with birds. It'll probably just poop on me."

But when I took it outside and let it fly, both my shirt and my hands were clean. That's because it had unloaded in the bedroom. Took a good long time to clean up the feathers and the poo. The kitchen was an even bigger mess. I'd had an open bag of vermiculite on the counter because I was rooting some cuttings. Amazing how far a bag of vermiculite can spread. And when it lands on the dishes soaking in the sink, you can't vacuum it up -- and you sure as heck don't want to rinse it down the drain and have to explain the clog to the Engineer.

BTW, you should be very impressed with Kitsu for catching a magpie. They're darn big birds. Close relatives of crows, they're mean and tough too. Here's a descriptive web page:

Image from The Complete Morris's British Birds 1891

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