Ponder this:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The one that got away

After lunch, after cleaning up, I returned to the picnic table with my omnipresent ice water and my book (The Love of My Youth) and settled in to toast in the sun, its heat relieved by a recurrent breeze. Every page or so, I'd look up and around to sigh happily at the green or to check the oranges for lunching orioles. The redwinged blackbird babies are out and about, closely following and imitating their parents' food-getting behavior and often, squatting down and fluttering like the babies they are, begging mom and dad for a morsel. An abrupt scuffle sound behind me pulled my head around to see a male oriole streaking inches above the lawn away from the shrubbery, MiMau not three feet behind him. If she had had a moment to gather herself, she would have jumped, reached, and caught him, but he flew hell-for-leather straight toward the driveway and off up into the trees beyond, leaving MiMau staring resentfully after him. "Lucky bird," thought I.


A little later, I related the story to Husband as he and I sat in the livingroom. Together we marveled at the cat's skill (despite this isolated failure) and at the luck of the oriole in escaping. I stood up to go to the kitchen. Husband said, "What's that on the wall?"
I stopped, looked. On the half wall between livingroom and the kitchen, a dried splotch and drip running to the baseboard below
I turned to him. "Was there a bird in here?"
"Must have been," he said. "Look at this!" and he reached down to pick up something from the floor. "Feathers. And they look like . . . oriole feathers."



We both turned and stared at the cat, sprawled on the floor.
MiMau stared back through slitted eyes for a moment, rose and left the room.

14 comments:

rachel said...

Nooooooo! That's the hard part of living with hunting cats..... I read this ten minutes after a squeakily-excited tabby cat brought me a little brown (dead) bird. I disposed of it without comment and she trotted off, no doubt to find me another.

June said...

Rachel, no mourning for the oriole. It did get away. The joke is that MiMau had it right in her own house and still lost it.

Linda said...

Poor MiMau.

Linda Myers said...

Great story!

Olga said...

Our neighbors cat caught a bluebird several years ago. The male stayed in the yard in mourning for a week, then flew away. We have not had bluebirds nest in the yard since then. My husband has not yet forgiven that cat.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

We don't see many birds in this part of town any more . There are a lot more cats though .
So far they haven't tried to take on the herons that nest in the cemetery .... is it only a matter of time ?

Tigerbi said...

What a lovely way to spend your 'day before' birthday

( sorry, couldn't help myself )

threecollie said...

So frustrating! One of our cats got a rose breasted grosbeak...I moved the feeder to a safer location after that but he was a big favorite of mine.

Vicki Lane said...

Well told! One of our cats has been leaving mice -- or parts of them -- on my husband's computer desk as a nice morning surprise for him.

English Rider said...

Murder-Mystery. I prefer the novel to the reality.

Joey said...

Good night! Good bird, fast bird!
Joey

Carolynn said...

Our Luna is a HUNTER. She literally launches herself at the window in her attempts to get at the birds.

So glad to hear the Oriole got away. My condolences to MiMau...not really. *smile*

Morning Bray Farm said...

And once again, thanks to your beautiful writing, I was there. In fact, I could see MiMau's face. :)

Barb said...

MiMau wants everyone to THINK she had bird for lunch - good thing she gets plenty of other food to keep her happy!