Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Other Diners

The weather is relenting a bit, and the very cold temperatures of the past week (in the -30s) are rising. Last night, I went outside and, though -17°, it felt almost like spring. I don’t mind the cold, but when it is painful, indeed dangerous, simply to walk about, then I must object.

I continue to feed the outside cats, though I have seen only one black cat come to the food-bowl in the last few days. I don’t know if she is one of the pair of black cats. I am not sure if I should hope for that or not, as it may mean that something has happened to her friend.

In the meantime, birds are taking advantage of the free food. I haven’t seen magpies for a while; they’ve been replaced by what I think are called, at least in these parts, starlings. Whether they are starlings or not, I don’t know. But they gather in small flocks and have a bite to eat at my expense. I don’t mind. They need food at such times, too, and they provide entertainment for my cats.


Renn and Parker especially like to watch the birds cluster around the food-bowl. When my big boy sees them, he will hurry over to the window, running low and quietly, as if he is about to rush them after stalking them. Some instincts never leave an animal. Both boys enjoy the birds’ flapping about, flying, pecking at the kernels in the bowl. Then, the flock will be gone, perhaps to come again.


It’s cheap entertainment, and the birds will work for food, so everyone is happy. And, while I do have to keep re-stocking the bowl, I no longer have to do it in temperatures so low they hurt.

13 comments:

  1. That's a great "TV channel" the cats have! And as you say, the birds need the food too. It's slim pickings for all outdoor critters in this kind of weather. (I wish our temps would relent...right into Spring.)

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  2. In this super cold, we must feed only kibble to The 'O' Cats, but I look forward to the day when I can go outside with bowls of wet food! And I know what you mean about the possible two black cats; I hope there ARE two!

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  3. He is quite handsome there. I love his markings which I had not seen really until this evening. Starlings are a scourge but yes, they have to eat too. I didn't know you had them. Do you have Ring Necked pigeons too? All imports and here to stay. They run out the native pigeons . Have you doves as well? Their coral feet are so pretty as are the gold in their feathers.

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    1. We have plenty of pigeons, but I don't know about the ring-necked variety. They seem to be all sorts here, mongrels. No doves, though.

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  4. Not only are you helping the birds, but the cats get to watch Cat TV for free. A win win situation!

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  5. And your big boy is a fine figure of a mancat too I might meow!

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  6. We have many starlings here, but they are bullies and chase all the smaller birds away. Our starlings look different to yours from what I can see in the photo. Here they are basically black but have so many colours showing in the black like water on spilled oil. They are known for making massive formations when they fly too. Your starlings give good TV for the cats.

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    1. Now that you have described English starlings, I am reminded of reading a book by a game-keeper who wrote of starling flocks so great that they blackened the sky. I guess their numbers help them maintain their supremacy over the littler birds. 'Water on spilled oil' is a good image.

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  7. Happy New Year! Such cold weather to start 2018!
    Due for possible snow, we are. On the news, we’ve been reminded not to forget the birds. I’ve been putting seed out but am a bit concerned about encouraging rodents.. I know they need to eat too but not inside my place. My cats enjoy the birds visits but my interior blinds are so much worse for wear. Halloween haunted house look, a bit early.

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    1. And a happy new year to you too, Kari, and all those furry ones with you. I figure if it is this cold at the year's beginning, it can only get warmer.

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  8. Happy New Year. After knowing you are braving such cold I will try to stop complaint about our -20s. But it is certainly warming up here too. Cheap entertainment is the best kind and thanks to Renn and you for reminding us.

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    1. Minus twenty is nothing to ignore, either. After it reaches a certain temperature it becomes simply 'darned cold'.

      A happy new year to you and Holly. I hope 2018 is very kind to you in all ways.

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