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Birds and cats

I have been cutting back a very overgrown hedge overcome by brambles on one side, quite hard work, but I have made a considerable impression. In the thicker part of the hedge I keep finding bird’s nests, abandoned this time of year I hasten to add. Most of them are blackbird nests, one a wren, and a few I can not identify. Among these last is a small, round, open nest made almost completely of fine plastic fibres, some sort of packing by the look of it, now, there is an adaptable bird.

I like having birds in the garden, and feed them at the bird table regularly, but a little while ago I looked out and saw a very small, and rather bedraggled, cat eating the mealworms I had spread on the pavement for the robin, who prefers feeding on the ground. I pointed it out to the other half, who found a tin of cat food, a leftover after Dave, our old cat, died. The tiny cat ate it voraciously, as she then ate everything else that was offered her.

Over the last few weeks since this has been happening her back legs, which were bald, have re-grown fur and she is generally much better looking, but there are far fewer birds feeding, especially the ground feeders that pick up what falls from the table. The exception is Theresa; Theresa is a male pheasant. He is named for a certain public figure whom my partner insists bears herself in just the same way, I can see it. As I said, it is a particularly small cat, and Theresa is as big, though his plumage makes him look bigger. It is amusing to watch them when they meet in the garden, or rather make large semi circles to avoid the awkwardness of meeting.


Theresa sounds quite a character. In fact the cat and the pheasant what a nice didactic story for children.

We also have a lot of birds who nest in our hedge. We have a pair of blackbirds who seem to be around all year. Probably because we don't get frost. They have a nest near my vegetable patch and guard MY strawberries and berries with their life.

While blackbirds may look the same they don't to me. This pair have a special way with them. They don't fly away when they see me coming and watch me with guarded curiosity. Once a cat got in my garden and was after their nest. I awoke early one morning to the sound of their distress calls. I immediately lept from my bed and before I realised what I was doing I was running half naked down the garden screaming at the cat. Seriously. Even the blackbirds stared at me in disbelief.
Walking through the courtyard of the local arts hub there was four empty chairs and on the table four pigeons tucking into the leftovers totally unfazed by people here and there...then later getting of the train a seagull on the platform was making holes in the plastic bin liner...yeah birds are as you say very adaptable and at times don't give a dam for social etiquette..the next time I see a human going through the bins in the city centre as I've never seen them do it around town...I wonder who has first divvy on the bins and if there is ever any conflict between the birds an people.
You are right Pip, one does get to know some birds as individuals, especially the territorial ones who are often around. I know the robin at the front of the house as different from the one in the back garden both in appearance and song.

There is plenty of conflict between birds and people in Hastings, the seagulls rip open the rubbish bags on collection day and spread stuff everywhere. Seagull is a bit of a misnomer they are land based birds that never venture far from shore. I am told their numbers have soared since local councils were forbidden incineration as a polluting way of disposing of rubbish.

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Olly Buckle
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