It’s a Bird’s Life

According to my National Geographic Society “Bird Migration Map for the Western Hemisphere” the Yucatan Peninsula is a stopping point for birds that migrate from as far away as Baffin Island in Northeastern Canada and Uruguay in South America. I’m not sure how many of these birds actually bother to come through Cancun, but some certainly do get spotted here.

When we first bought our house the yard had no mature trees. Now, 5 years later, we have a monster of a ficus tree, 5 huge bugambilias, a chico zapote that’s almost 2 stories tall and a naranja (orange) tree which is full of (green) oranges at the moment. Needless to say we have lots of attractive branches for birds to land on.

And land they do. Each morning we are awakened by birds who sit in the ficus, just outside our bedroom window. Once they start their squawking the cats inevitably jump onto the windowsills and watch the bird show for a few hours. Some cats get more into this than others and a couple of the cats get a little carried away making imitative “bird” noises and periodically launching themselves up onto the window screen in a futile attempt to chase a bird.

The other day we were awakened by bird squawks. But this time they were not coming from the ficus tree, they were coming from the other side of the house, from the backyard. And this time it wasn’t the usual 10 or 20 birds having their normal pre-coffee discussion about how to torment our 8 cats. No. This time it was roughly 90 to 100 birds. And this time they were squawking like no one’s business. These birds were LOUD, they had a purpose, they were raising an alarm!

When we looked we saw birds perched along every edge of every roof and wall around our backyard. And ALL of them were squawking INTO our backyard!

We raced into the yard and found the problem. Several guilty-looking cats had a bird cornered in our backyard. They were close enough to the bird that it couldn’t take flight. We chased the cats into the house and then fended off the dog who had come to “help”. Once free of cat interference the bird flew halfway up the wall and landed on a vine in the corner. Then it was able to fly to the top of the wall. I couldn’t tell if it’s short flights were due to it being injured or whether they were due to space limitations coupled with being in shock. But the bird got away under its own power.

As soon as the bird topped the wall it’s squawking brethren quit their alarming and went about their business. But I have to say I was really, really impressed with how all those birds tried to help their fallen friend. If they had not woken us up that bird would have been cat food.

I’ve always thought I would like to feed birds and become a birdwatcher. But it may have to wait until another life, a life in which I don’t pull every starving cat I find off the street and bring it home.

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3 Responses to “It’s a Bird’s Life”

  1. Lisa
    June 28th, 2008 07:01

    It sounds like you guys really did get a sudden awakening. I like to watch birds too when I get the chance.

    Last summer one of the boys was throwing a reflective toy around the yard that got stuck in the oak tree. A few days later a cardinal was up there pecking at it and seemed to be fussing at himself. We got a kick out of it.

    Well I’m glad that you are feeling better and hope that your lungs are clearing up; there’s nothing worse than a lasting hack.

    I’m recovering too. I had lithotripsy on the 13th for kidney stones and have been to the medical university twice this week alone.

    Take care and get a mirror to hang in one of your trees for some real viewing enjoyment with the birds 🙂


  2. RiverGirl
    June 28th, 2008 09:37

    Lisa – I hope you recover soon from the kidney stones, what an awful thing to go through.

    I’m much better, still very tired, still coughing some, but all-in-all am much better.

  3. Islaholic Trixie
    June 29th, 2008 09:19

    We have birds that continuously fly into our big (10 feet tall) windows in our great room. One day a red tailed hawk flew into one of them. I thought for sure the window would shatter. Window stayed in tact, bird was a little dazed, but flew off unharmed. It sure does make for a big thud!!

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