But now, there on the window, next to the transfer of a kestrel which I affixed in a vain attempt to prevent such mishaps, was the outline of a bird, a pigeon to be precise, beak agape and wings outstretched like the imprint of a surprised angel, arrest in flight by this invisible, unyielding barrier. I tried to take a picture of it but it is remarkably difficult to photograph an imprint on glass when there is a garden for the camera to focus on in the background. Perhaps someone with a knowledge of photography can kindly explain how I set the camera up to do this.
|Pigeon splat on the kitchen window.|
The pigeons, are, I hasten to add, robust enough to survive these impacts and don't even have the intelligence to look embarrassed by the indignity. They are constant attendees at the buffet of dropped sunflower seeds discarded by the goldfinches and bullfinches on the bird feeder. It costs quite a lot to keep this topped up but it has been a lovely comfort to watch the birds during my recovery.
|Goldfinches: Too beautiful, I feel, to be native to England.|
So, as I sat there with my cup of tea and slice of fruit cake for my elevenses, a commotion in the garden caught my attention and I wish I had had my camera on hand to capture it.
There are crows nesting out in the tops of the alders next to the river out of the front of the house. These crows are rather aggressive and will dive-bomb walkers with small dogs. I confess, the sight of a pekinese or Yorkshire terrier crawling along on its belly in terror of the assault from above is utterly hilarious to behold.
But these crows also have a wicked side. They seem to take great delight in waiting in the maple trees out the back, or upon television aerials, until the pigeons are feeding on the lawn, and then swooping down and driving them off and into obstacles such as the fence or my windows.
Without my resorting to undue anthropomorphism, it seems to me that they then retire to a nearby roof, seemingly to cackle and laugh amongst themselves at their sport. They truly do seem to have a mischievous and slightly cruel sense of humour at the expense of the stupid pigeons.
My research seems to indicate that crows have far larger brains than is necessary for creatures of that size and this appears to make them exhibit some quite sophisticated behaviours (such as tool making, always assumed to be a measure of intelligence and largely unique to humans and the occasional chimpanzee).
Indeed, a colleague was recounting to me over lunch earlier this year how during a snowy period, he observed a crow sliding down a snowdrift over and over again, an action which could not possibly have been the result of any desire except that for fun and entrtainment.
I often wondered if animals did things just for fun. Ok, we ave all observed dogs chasing about for the sheer joy of it and cats having a "funny five minutes" around the furniture at dusk. But crows really do seem to have a laugh. I rather admire them for their attitude. And oh! What was that! Not another one, surely?! Let me go and check the windows.