Saturday, May 9, 2009

Conquering of the Sparrow

As I've said before, I've taken issue with our neighboring mama sparrow. She chills right outside our front door on the fire alarm and swoops whenever I leave to go to work. It's not fun or funny for me, though it might be to you if you saw how I react. My neighbors think I'm insane and noisy for that matter, because I'm shaking my keys as I walk down the stairs on my way to the car. It's for my protection and I'm sorry if it wakes them up. In my opinion, on weekdays everyone should be up by 6:15 anyway, which is when I leave for work. If that were to happen, no one would be woken up to shaking keys and shrieking neighbors.

I have, however, found a way to scare the living daylights out of mama sparrow. I don't know if you know this, but I have an orange cat named Pippen. He's on the furry, chubby, purry side. Pippen spent his formative kitten days with a Welsh corgie named Dobby. One of Dobby's favorite games is fetch. Pippen would watch as Dobby chased a toy and brought it back. Pippen thought that's how cats are supposed to play. Now, Pippen plays fetch with us. He prefers furry little fake mice and when we throw them, he will retrieve them and wait for us to throw them again. The only difference between him and the dog is that Pippen decides when HE wants to play and when HE wants to end the game. All of a sudden you'll look up and he'll be giving himself a bath and you know, Pippen is done.

Anyway, we have a window in our "dining room," (I use that term very loosely here) and we always have the blinds closed on it. That's because it faces all of our neighbors' doors, therefore the blinds are closed lest they catch us in various states of undress (actually, when we're home alone we dress up in our wedding clothes and sing "Here comes the bride" to each other...ha) and we don't want anyone seeing that. However, this window provides a perfect view of mama sparrow, up there on the fire alarm, chirping her head off. Pippen can hear her chirping and he is very intrigued. He'll sit (lay) and stare at the front door, just willing mama sparrow to fly in.

*I must say right now that Pippen is and has always been an indoor cat. He is a wonderful cat, but he embodies the stature of a cat who has been inside his whole life. He's fat, soft and a little slow. There's no way he could ever really catch a live bird, I mean, the cat has a hard time getting the fake mice we throw for him. But this is key: he believes that he can, and this is what scares mama sparrow. Lord help us when she figures out that she could be trapped in a pet carrier with him and he still wouldn't be able to catch her.*

One morning, while I was eating breakfast and dreading walking out the front door because I knew what was waiting for me, I wanted to see what would happen if I opened the blinds up and sat Pippen on the window sill. I did just that, the whole time Pippen was being unusually cooperative, and I think that's because he had never bothered with that window sill because the blinds were always shut. This window held new interest for him because, A) he'd never seen out of it and B) there was a noisy bird there somewhere. Needless to say, mama sparrow saw him and flew off immediately. I watched, hoping she wouldn't catch on that he didn't pose much of a threat. Now, mama would do what I call a little "swoop-in" periodically, where she would fly just far enough to check if he was still there. When he was, she'd fly away again. This happened for about 10 minutes when suddenly she must have thought Pippen wasn't going anywhere. She was gone!

Now, this is a process I will have to repeat for the next four days (after that, mama sparrow will have peace because we're moving), but it's well worth it. Every day my cat waits and watches for mama sparrow, and in his tiny mind he's imagining what he'll do to her when he catches her. I'm not going to tell him that it will never happen, it would be too mean. I won't begrudge him his daydreams because he has made my mornings so much easier.

1 comment:

DogLover said...

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