Saturday, August 09, 2008

Nature's Cruelty.

Ever since the wedding weekend in our garden, I've found the odd bit of debris left about the place. The discarded champagne glass, the burnt out firework etc.. Well, this morning I found a rather more unusual item.

Our cellar is always well stocked with Bud, Becks, lagers, cider, white and red wine etc.. The only new beer we decided to introduce for the pleasure of our guests was a crate or two of one named 'Old Speckled Hen'. It proved to be very popular. And guess what? Today I discovered an Old Speckled Hen on the lawn - without its top on!

And we don't even have any hens! I suspect that Reynard, whom we spotted sizing up the Canada Geese chicks in early May, and whom we believe collected one for the pot a few days later, has called again, this time on our neighbours and reduced their laying flock by one. Anyway I thought it was worth a photograph. This blog will not shy away from forcing its readers to confront the brutality that is a feature of the natural world.


Anonymous said...

I'm having connection issues - please delete if received twice:

Seeing that photo brings back an awful scene that befell my then wife and I on our first wedding anniversary. We had the downstairs of a house in a rural village near Bath; the landlord lived directly above us. If memory serves it was late afternoon and we were beginning to get ready for a trip into Bath to celebrate when we heard the most awful noise coming from the back-garden.

We rushed outside to witness mayhem.

A blackbird was hopping across the lawn with a broken wing. The landlord’s cat was literally licking its paws looking so proud. For a moment I was stunned at the scene – I thought the cat had broken the wing of the blackbird, but it was far worse than that. In front of the cat lay a mortally wounded blackbird – clearly the blackbirds were a mating pair. The uninjured blackbird was pretending to be hurt to somehow attract the cat away from its wounded partner. I shooed the cat off and did my best for the wounded blackbird. My wife was very upset. Then I was dive bombed by the uninjured blackbird, so I had to beat a retreat. When I went back to the wounded bird the uninjured blackbird screamed-squawks at me, and its injured mate came too and was very frightened. I was not helping so withdrew. We rang the RSPCA but they said the best thing to do was let things be.

Later that night I went outside to put the wounded blackbird out of its misery. It’s mate was not around, if he/she had been, I would have retreated once more, but I really did not want the cat playing with the wounded bird. As luck would have it the injured bird was either sleeping or dead.

I was prepared with a lid off a metal biscuit box of the kind one gets for Christmas and a cardboard shoebox stuffed with paper tissues and tape. I didn’t want the wounded bird suffer and I did not want to bury the poor thing alive – I had to make sure it was out of its misery and quite dead before I buried it. Even so, I did not want to do what I was about to do. I wacked it quickly gave its head a firm hit from the lid and to my horror it came too, but only for a split second – it lifted its head in surprise and then fell back very dead. It didn’t have time to feel pain, but that split second will be with me for the rest of my life. I did the right thing, I put it out of its misery and avoided an even longer death. It was mortally wounded c/o the Landlord’s cat.

There was a lesson for me to learn about country life – the landlord told me why he left the cat’s kills out on the porch – because the cat killed less local wildlife. I didn’t understand why the landlord left the cat kills out like, but now I understood. I stopped cleaning up the cat kills. I guess the cat was doing what some cat’s do. All the same, I could not bear to see that cat and would shoo it away whenever I saw it.

That cat was a killing machine.


Anonymous said...

Its a great beer

Anonymous said...

Of course, if this lunatic, countryside-hating government hadn't banned hunting, sights like that would be a lot rarer. A principal reason why I'm voting Tory next time.

Glyn Davies said...

anon 1 - Cats are much biggest killer of small birds than predators of the natural world. Its what cats do.

anon 2 - Agreed.

Anon 3 - You are wise. I share your continued opposition to the ban on hunting with dogs.