Ol’ Robbo was parked in his favorite comfy chair in front of the fire in the Port Swiller Manor library late this afternoon, rereading C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra, when he suddenly became aware that Bella, the eldest of the household cats, was fooling about with something with more than her usual energy.
At first I thought she was just on a catnip high and was playing with one of her toys. After a moment, though, I noticed that whatever she was batting around appeared to be able to move under its own steam. Furthermore, as she repeatedly pounced on it, it seemed to make a high, squeaky noise.
“Ah,” I thought to myself, “a mouse. Well, that’s her job, isn’t it.” I registered a note to dispose of the corpse once she was done playing it and went back to my book.
(Incidentally, in terms of pure, anthropomorphic cruelty, there is nothing, nothing, in nature to match a cat dealing with its prey. I know they don’t have any such actual thoughts, but they sure as hell look as if they’re enjoying torturing their victims.)
However, as she continued to chase the thing about, I suddenly became aware that it wasn’t a mouse, but in fact was a bird. A Carolina wren, to be exact. How the heck it got into the house, I still don’t know, but there it was.
Ol’ Robbo loves wrens, both for their stubby appearance and also for their bold demeanor. He couldn’t let this one succumb. So, after shooing Bella away, he set about to catch it and put it outside himself.
This proved…..difficult. Some years ago, a bat managed to make its way into Robbo’s bedroom. Opening a window and whisking it out with the aid of a tennis racket was really fairly easy, because bats prefer open air and this one spent all its time swooping around near the ceiling. Wrens, on the other hand, are denizens of the ground and of brush. This one displayed such character trait by repeatedly getting under sofas and chairs and hiding behind various kitchen appliances.
Eventually, however, I managed to lay hands on the thing and to take it back outside. Upon release, it made straight for the hedge, where I hope it is now bedded down for some much needed rest.
UPDATE: I’ve seen the male in and out of the feeder today but not the female (which was the one that got in). I hope the poor thing didn’t succumb to shock.
UPDATE DEUX: Saw her this afternoon at the feeder looking none the worse for wear. Huzzay!