Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Pleasures of Nature

The birds around my cabin are a little confused. I think they should all go into therapy. Whenever I call my two cats, the kookaburras, magpies, butcher-birds and currajongs flock to the trees at my back door, the clothes line and a post at the edge of my vegetable/herb garden. Perhaps I'm being a bit hasty in calling them "confused". Smart is probably the correct description!

Each time I venture outside the birds spot me from afar, high up in their "look-out" posts. Within seconds, they've taken up their respective positions in the branches above, some milling around on the ground close to my feet, in total ignorance of my cats. Remy and Shama look at the birds of a feather disdainfully as uninvited interlopers, but they make no attempt to dissuade their expectant presence. I'm sure, though, if they, my cats, could work out a way to pick up a stone, they would kill two birds with one stone! Remy and Shama have decorum, however, and have been taught never to over-step the boundaries I've set. A guttural "ahhhh-ahhh" from me is enough warning for them. With a shake of their heads and a flick of their tails, Remy and Shama cast me looks of disgust as they walk away.

The pecking order amongst my family of native birds begins with the kookaburras, followed by the magpies, butcher-birds, with the currajongs waiting their turn after the former group have had their fill. Every now and then Mr. and Mrs. Crow make their appearance and they are always at the end of the line, which is quite amazing, really. Describing this phenomenon to friends the other day, I argued at length that this was so. My friends didn't believe that the crows waited until last, at the end of the pecking order. It is so, at least, with this particular jet-black, well-mannered family of two. Almost every day my feathered vertebrate friends receive the meat my furry rascals haven't eaten and the off-cuts. There is enough for everyone.

When the rain tumbles down, a rare event lately, and when gusty, vigorous winds cause chaos, my heart goes out to my "outside" friends, but I tell myself that somewhere out there in their homes in trees they inhabit, they have found their safe sanctuary against nature's forces.

Kookaburra drawing by me...


  1. Lovely sketch and lovely story, Lee. I do miss the Australian birds. They are such a quiet lot here in Vancouver, you could be forgiven for thinking that there aren't any.

    Here in the Pacific Northwest the crows have the elevated name of raven and are they are respected and revered in the native culture.

    "For Raven brought light to the world, placing the sun, moon, and stars in the sky. ..."

    He is one of the two main crests of the Haida Indians, with Eagle the other.

    Your two are showing true dignity in not scrabbling with the riffraff.

  2. I'm one of the rare breed who like crows, jmb. Most people seem to dislike them vehemently. I know they do have some habits that are distressing when forced to forage for their food and sustenance, but with everything that is nature, isn't it? We have both crows and ravens here. They're of the same family and there is such a minimal difference in the birds, it's hardly worth mentioning.

    The following is interesting for those who, it appears, incorrectly finger the poor crow/raven for being a despicable creature.

    "Ravens/crows used to be blamed for killing lambs because they were often seen feeding on them, but it's now believed ravens only feed on lambs which are dead or dying from something else. In some ways, ravens help farmers because they'll eat grasshoppers and other pest insects.

    Australian ravens/crows hang around in flocks until they're old enough to pair off to breed, and then they stay with the same partner for the rest of their life."

    They are an incredibly intelligent bird.

    Us human, who are supposed to have more intelligence, do worse things to each other every second of every day, unfortunately.

  3. You should remember my earlier comment on my Dad's Crow tale. I won't repeat it.

    Please take some pictures of your feathered friends and cats.

    I think my time posting at LST will be limited due to current happenings. if you get there in time, they may not have deleted my last comments.

    Oh well, more time for our Blog, and less distractions from daily life. I will work to put up a bunch of our local birds for your viewing.

  4. There seems to be a power-play in play at LST at the moment, Marc. I can't be bothered with the games children play. That's the problem with groups, clubs and the like...someone's ego always become over-inflated by their own self worth...which is a shame, but that's life, I guess.

    I will post some pics soon. I did post some of the kookaburras a while back.

    Thanks for your comment. :)

  5. I'd go and sit in a tree for a night if it meant getting a decent rainfall.

  6. You and me both, Lee. I've almost forgotten what it's like!

    Lee and Lee
    Up in a tree!


  7. If it's alright by you two nouveau koalas, I'll stay in bed and (hopefully) listen to the rain you attract, on the tin roof.

  8. You're a chicken, j cosmo newbery! ;)

  9. Hi Lee ~~ Love your kookaburra sketch - really good, I like kookas. You have not convinced me that crows are nice. Even calling them ravens does not help. They pick the eyes out of lambing ewes and they take little chickens. Thanks for your comments,
    I have eaten a few Broad beans with
    the skins on, nice while young.
    Good luck with lotto and your daily clean sheets!! I see Peter has a post on from Sydney. Take care, Love, Merle.

  10. Remy "Shama lets walk away while she is about" as Remy shakes his tail.

    Shama "Good idea, Remy as she thinks she is the boss but when her back is turned let's make feathers fly from the lot of them" as she shakes her tail.

    Remy "Look she has gone inside. There is a black one for you and one for me".

    Shama "Remy watch out she has come back outside"

    Sorry lee couldn't help myself. Loved the sketch.
    Cannot think of crows/raven without thinking of Edgar Allen Poe

  11. I love the drawing Lee!! I have never seen a kookaburras "for real"... I would love to someday though..

  12. Yes, lovely drawing and post, Lee. I'd love to see your cats walking disdainfully away. Only you could have attracted a pair of well-mannered crows to your garden!

  13. Merle...please do read my first comment after jmb's regarding the report on crows...it is quite interesting. I'll pop in and see how Peter and Wazza are destroying Sydney...he must have put his post up after I popped in to see him yesterday. ;)

    I had a good giggle reading your comment, Lady Di...you could be right, too! lol

    Hi Deslily...they're quite a unique bird, our dear old kookaburra. They are very friendly and soon loose any fear they may have had about humans.

    I even make them put on their black evening suits to visit, Welsh! ;)

  14. I've read the 5th installment of the invasion. It made me want to be in the party on the beach. AND as always made me hungry. You are hard on a diet.
    Andrea is returning. Will this never end? I suppose it shall. What a sad day that will be.
    Nice sketch and story about the local birds of a feather.
    From one old bird to another. Later!

  15. All things good and bad eventually come to an end, Cliff...some just take a little longer than others! ;)

    Stick with it...Mills & Boon would be proud of you! ;)

  16. Excellent sketch. You abode certainly sounds like a delightful setting and I enjoyed reading your account of law and order (or should I say pecking order) amongst feathered friends with whom I gather you happily co-habitat. Presumably your cats don’t need to wear a bell (when venturing outside)?

    Your last chapter was interesting and displayed your innovation to ensure groups within different tastes and interests enjoy themselves. I am sure they all still remember your hospitality with fond memories.
    Best wishes

  17. Hello there, Lindsay. Nope...my rascals don't wear collars with bells. There never has been any need for them to do so. I've always taught every cat I've owned not to chase birds, but to realise and understand they are part of their world, too. 99 percent of the time, it has worked successfully. My cats have a restaurant in which to dine daily, so why should they dirty their paws and over-exert themselves in catching their own tucker? ;)

  18. Oh! You make me 'owl, j cosmo newbery! ;)

  19. Lovely drawing. Smart birds I think!

    Magpies aren't very nice though, are they?

  20. Yes...I love magpies, Liz. They, too , are very smart birds. They only cause havoc to some during their nesting season, by swooping down on people, but I've never had that problem with them. I think they know and recognise their friend. My lot, plus others in other areas I've lived, bring their babies to me and have never caused me any problems.