Saturday, June 17, 2006


Euripides (cat) caught a bird today. I heard the distress call fade. And then I saw Euripedes carry his prize across the yard.

But wait! The bird was still alive.

I ran out and pried kitty's mouth open (twice) and finally the young bird fell onto the ground. I swept him into my hand, away from the jaws of the now two cats waiting for more action.

When I took the bird inside, I felt sure he would die. But! You never know. So I put some tissues into the bathroom sink (all the better with which to pick up dead birds), lay the bird in the sink and shut out the light.

Twenty minutes later I went back to the sink, and birdie was breathing heavily with his eyes shut. The end is near, I thought. And I closed the door.

An hour later I went in to get the dead bird, but he was up and standing on the rim of the sink. He spied the escape route out the door, and flew out of the bathroom. The problem with his escape was that he kept banging his head on the ceiling of the living room. Great, I thought. He'll die of a broken neck after after he survived the cat attack. I turned to open the front door, but the bird had disappeared when I turned back around. I hunted through all the downstairs - finally found the little bird hiding in my drapes. I scooped him up again, but this time, AGH! he flew out of my hands. All but his tailfeathers. They stayed in my fingers. Uh-oh, I thought. He'll die of no tail, after he survived the cats AND the broken neck. I ran over to the floor where he was hiding, scooped him up yet another time. And the little birdie and I went outside. I felt so bad about his tailfeathers.

I showed him to Paul, and remarked how his beak was hooked, kind of like a young Kingfisher. I know about Kingfishers; once, camping in Australia, I was relaxing w/ a glass of wine and some tuna on crackers after a 12-mile hike through the Carnarvan Gorge. I heard a flurry of feathers not one second before a Kingfisher grabbed my tuna-on-cracker AND my finger. (This was the same day the kangaroos ate our spaghetti.) The tuna was gone, my finger remained intact. But ohmygoodness! I'd hate to be prey of a bird-of-prey. Gruesome business, that.

Back to the birdie in this story: Apparently, the little guy wasn't feeling too happy himself about his whole situation - fang marks, broken neck, no tailfeathers... So what do you suppose he did next??! HE BIT MY FINGER!! AND WOULDN'T LET GO!! I had to pry it open with a twig! Great Scott, what is it about these hook-beaked birds and my fingers?!

I lay the little guy in our privet hedge, and went inside to see if Australian Kingfishers and Kookaburras are migratory. What I found was that this little bird is a Great Northern Flycatcher. I went back to the privet to tell him I knew what he was, but he spied me and flew across the pasture, back to his woods. Probably very good on his part; heaven knows what might have happened next...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Képi Blanc

I was reading up on the French Foreign Legion today (not to worry, they don't allow women, and probably PARTICULARLY not middle-aged ones.)

The following is stated in their Code of Honor:

"Au combat, tu agis sans passion et sans haine, tu respectes les ennemis vaincus..."

In English, that means something like:
"In combat, you will act without passion and without hate, you will respect the vanquished enemy..."

I find that phrase very thought-provoking.

There could be a novel in that, somewhere. Oops, there exists one already. Several, actually. Must peruse the library stacks...
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