1 EAGLETON NOTES: All Creatures Great and Small



Friday, 7 August 2009

All Creatures Great and Small

I'm definitely having a few days of involvement with the feathered and furry creatures in the neighbourhood.

Yesterday started with two cats from the area having a really massive battle in the garden leaving it covered in fur. My attempts to separate them before I had to take one home to an owner in a black sack were not proving fruitful and were exposing my uncovered legs to potential excessive brutality (not that even a thick pair of jeans would have afforded much protection had they turned on me). My eventual solution was to turn the high pressure hose on them. Water is always a great favourite with cats!

Then, as I was idly watching the world, a rock dove kept circling the house sometimes very close. Suddenly I realised that it's 'companion' was not in fact another rock dove but a bird of prey with a significant white throat area. At one point it became difficult to know which was chasing which. There are Merlins in the area. Merlins are similar in size to pigeons but, so far as I can see, don't usually take them. However they do take their prey by flying with them (compared with Peregrine Falcons which tend to swoop down on their prey). So it looks very much as though this was a particularly enthusiastic Merlin.

Talking of rock doves they and the starlings are becoming a nuisance again. The Study roof is covered in their droppings and the starlings are driving the sparrows away from their feeders. As I write this there are 25 rock doves and countless starlings on the feeders and ground around them and one sparrow braving the starlings' beaks. Hmmm.

Now if anyone thinks that pigeons are bright let me disabuse them of that notion. I have a pond. It has a 'beach' area so that the birds can easily have a drink or bathe or whatever. This morning I was distracted from the computer by a splashing on the pond. A solitary collared dove was standing on the surround to the pond and trying to lean in (a drop of about 4 inches) to have a drink. He (or she) kept falling off the edge. After a while he realised this was not going to work so he tried to land on the water. Pigeons are not equipped for this task. He didn't know that. Time and again he tried and time and again he failed to manage to walk on the water. Eventually ie by the time I came to my senses and managed to power up the camera, he realised the error of his ways and flew off. I've not seen him since.

I wonder what other exciting things will happen today.


  1. I can picture the pigeon in my mind from your description. Gave me a good laugh! :)

  2. About getting to the camera...it seems they ALWAYS run off before we're able to capture them.

  3. Wow---about the cats!!! The water-hose was the perfect answer!

    ...I can just picture the pigeon...that is very funny!

  4. I have never heard it said that a pigeon is the brightest crayon in the box, or sharpest tool in the shed! But, God bless them, they do provide us amusement, don't they?
    Judging by the start of your day, this could be a very exciting day for you!