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March 4, 2013 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Late. Sorry, Cat Meat Baby.

Tardy.

No note. No escape.

The Boss stands there. Scolding with his eyes. Never a word.

His neck swivels noting as I slip past. Not a sound.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Tx

I quickly pour and back off.

Offer accepted?

I tried for some variety this time.

A short glance. Sufficient.

“OK Girls. Come on down.”

He jerks his head.

Fluffs his shoulders even more square.

And hearts a-flutter, they quickly moved to his side.

Loudly cooing over his power and unquestionable authority, they preen.

Silly girls.

He always looks for a good heart.

With measured steps, he moves slightly to the side.

Settles in for morning watch.

Observing without being obvious about it – with the usual caution that comes with experience.

A nod to the Molly who tail wags – delighted with the recognition and trust.

“Rumor has it,” Molly breathlessly whispered so as not to disturb the new arrivals,

“He was in partnership with the German.

Rumor has it that they drove off intruders – even cats.

Negotiated piece with squirrels.”

No doubt. He’s the Boss Bird.

Helmet. Museum Fine Art. Houston,TX

He looks a little rough – more than in past years.

But he is getting older

Could be just that well-worn winter coat.

He’s tougher than ever expected.

Like a well-bred West Highland White or Corgi.

If you’ve ever encountered one of those canine telephone poles on stubby sticks, you know the attitude.

Never would have predicted such grand success.

Such wobbly beginnings.

Obvious runt of the nest.

His incessant squawking driving all within earshot insane.

The last to manage the short hop from nest to fence.

We  watched as his awkward careening flight and belly flop landing.

His little toes kept a death grip on the boards as he shrieked to be fed.

(Little wonder his mother flew off so abruptly.)

We weren’t the only ones that watched.

The resident hawk lazed overhead.

Harley, the resident neighborhood mouser, arrived, curious.

That’s it. He’s cat meat, baby.

Won’t last long.

He was tiny and huddled basically in one spot on the fence no matter what.

Smart doves don't sit shilotetted against the sky

Smart doves don’t sit silhouetted against the sky

Predictions can be wrong.

It was attitude, not weakness.

Why bother expending energy if it’s easier to be so annoying Mom will bring food just for a little peace and quiet?

(Some human teenagers instinctively know that, too?)

A bird Brain. An expert manipulator with a fearless outlook.

When the migrating noisy black grackles discovered the feeder, he didn’t dither and relinquish his homelands.

Fearlessly barged onto the feeder roof.

Nonchalantly slid onto the feeder floor and, just like night clubbing, shouldered his way up to the bar.

Solidly shoved the larger birds over – inch by inch.

Forced them out.

Never backed down.

Sibling doves, impressed, followed.

Dove groupies

Dove groupies. Agnes, she’s talking with him. We’ve got to get over there.

The lady doves can’t resist cooing over him.

Ladies always like the tough little guys with confidence.

Despite our worry he was too small to find a mate, he became quite the doting family bird.

Cat Meat Baby, CMB, became the staunch community leader.

Self appointed lookout and hawk early warning system from the highest roof peak.

(“Those silly fat girls should have listened to him,”the German used to comment.)

Defender of the timid.

(Insisting the others to allow the tiny young Cardinal male to swoop in and scoop up a few choice morsels for his shy bride. After all, CMB even had enforced a no fly zone around the Lantana while that pair were courting.)

Cat Meat Baby has gently lead the dove flock through frigid winters, severe droughts, and hurricanes. Now it’s spring again

CMB’s put on a few pounds – not flabby: Solid. Confident.

(How long do doves live anyway?)

He acknowledges me with a head bob from his fence perch whenever I go out.

By secret signal, he assures the others it’s safe and the breakfast bar is now open.

The flock trusts him.

Nervously waddle down the roof ridge to join him on the fence.

Doves a-go-go

Doves a-go-go. Agnes, don’t be such a dolt. Get over him. There’s sunflower seeds.

He’s bound to be hungry, but they eat before he does.

He’s sitting alone. Guarding.

Cat Meat Baby’s the undisputed bird boss.

He must be trying to impress a new lovie.

She’d better treat him right.

Don’t go breaking his heart.

Things are a-flutter with the warmer weather,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Earlier adventures of Cat Meat Baby:

Cat Meat Baby - after the Great Squirrel Battle

Cat Meat Baby – after the Great Squirrel Invasion and Battle.

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29 Comments

  1. Ally Bean / Mar 4 2013 5:43 pm

    What a bird! Cute story.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 4 2013 5:49 pm

      Silly, but that dove is so funny – and the sunny warm weather insisted on a spring-has-arrive story. (we’ll ignore that cold front headed this way shortly….) THanks for flying in with a comment

      Like

  2. Carrie Rubin / Mar 4 2013 6:45 pm

    Oh, yes, teenagers know all about pushing the annoyance button until mom finally caves. Luckily in my case, I’m a tough nut to crack. 😉

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2013 1:11 am

      They certainly are skilled at poking, poking, poking. Mowing the lawn always seemed to drown that out around here – couldn’t hear a thing, thank goodness. Thanks for chirping up with a comment

      Like

  3. katecrimmins / Mar 4 2013 7:21 pm

    Belly up to the bar??? Hilarious!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2013 1:13 am

      It was so funny seeing all the big black grackles swarming the feeder for food with one little dove slowly shoving them off one by one. Bird politics – more fun than human politics! Thanks for hopping over to chat

      Like

  4. Robin / Mar 4 2013 8:38 pm

    He looks almost regal. 🙂

    Like

  5. PiedType / Mar 4 2013 11:10 pm

    I love doves. Everything about them is gentle, peaceful. Some of my earliest memories are of mourning doves cooing outside my window early on a summer morning — the kind of morning you relish, knowing full well the afternoon will bring temps of over 100.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2013 1:17 am

      Doves are funny little birds. It’s better now the trees and bushes have grown a bit to provide them move cover – when we first moved in I was wondering if we were just fattening them up for the hawks. The smart ones survived..and passed down their skills. It was 80 here today – those horrid temps aren’t far off I fear (will have much more time for indoor activities like blogging once the summer heat gets here…been looking at Estes Park today. Sigh)
      Thanks for gliding in to chat

      Like

  6. EllaDee / Mar 5 2013 12:27 am

    CMB is the Man… I can see why the ladies love him… and he seems to have you and Molly wound around his little birdy claw also. You know, people should spend more time watching birds rather TV, and donate a little seed and water in return… CMB would agree with me, I think 🙂

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2013 1:20 am

      He must be the Dove romantic leading character movie star….or John Wayne of the skies? Outdoors is more fun than TV…especially with the mild weather – not looking forward to broiling in July-Aug.
      CMB sends a winged salute for your wonderful insights.

      Like

  7. jmmcdowell / Mar 5 2013 1:45 am

    When the Mourning Doves start cooing in the morning, I know spring is coming—even if we could get a major snowstorm on Wednesday. 😦 The good news is, it’ll melt quick at this time of year. Still, I’m ready for flowers and greening trees!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2013 1:51 pm

      The ducks/birds are lifting off in your direction (possibly stopping along the way to wait out the storm). They are saying Wed-Thurs will be the biggest snow of the year? Hope they are wrong.
      I’ve been hurrying to get the flowerbeds cleaned up and ready for the summer flowers – shortly it’ll be too hot to even think about going out. (back to blogging/reading then)
      The major water reservoirs in the are still 5 inches low – not so good – although if more went to landscape that was hardy and required less water maybe the rice farmers wouldn’t be facing restricted irrigation water. Molly’s already romping in little swimming pool at a a friend’s house…and demanding one…except she has to promise not to grab it and run around the yard…
      Stay warm and inside (better to enjoy the snow scene). Thanks for pecking out a comment

      Like

  8. Sunshine / Mar 5 2013 2:51 am

    …and CMB i bet appreciate all the loves you sprinkle over his harem. 🙂
    love the story!!

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 5 2013 1:54 pm

      CMB insists is it an equal opportunity bird feeder…but he keeps an eye in case any of them start hogging the food. The German loved to watch them and the birds rarely flew from her. Everything was about the same with Molly until she spotted an intruder squirrels munching along side the birds and lunged at it = chasing it along the fence line…some of the birds misunderstood and are very nervous about her now. It’s a funny little world. THanks for flying along

      Like

      • Sunshine / Mar 6 2013 4:33 am

        poor Molly…misunderstood. well, in time maybe those birds will see she is with good intentions. 🙂

        Like

  9. aFrankAngle / Mar 5 2013 4:18 pm

    I can hear the morning doves now … and great shot with the bird between the branches!

    Off topic – thanks for continuing to drop in during my hiatus. Hoping to return to normal soon!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2013 2:43 pm

      Just had to fly over and see how you were doing. Appreciate you spending a few spare minutes checking out what’s nesting here

      Like

  10. jannatwrites / Mar 6 2013 5:24 am

    I like your story of this feisty bird! Glad he wasn’t hawk feed! I think it’s funny when the smaller birds (or animals) shove the elders about a bit.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2013 2:45 pm

      Bird politics are quite involved. It’s always complicated during the fall and spring migration seasons when travelers stop over for a snack (uninvited, the dovies insist) Thanks for winging over

      Like

  11. roughseasinthemed / Mar 6 2013 10:33 am

    isn’t watching animal/bird communities so interesting? So much to learn and so better behaved than we are…

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    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2013 2:48 pm

      MAybe if humans weren’t quite so busy and took the time to observe critter politics and behavior some revelations might occur? Curious, what birds live around you? (Did you see they are dropping drugged mice in parachutes in Guam in an attempt to battle the invasive tree snakes there that have eliminated all the native birds on that island?) Thanks for perching here to chat

      Like

  12. Kourtney Heintz / Mar 7 2013 1:33 am

    Cool masks. Bird politics are harder to follow than The Tudors. 😉

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2013 4:12 pm

      That bronze helmet is one of my favorite pieces in the Fine Arts museum. We always have to stop by and visit it. It’s cool they will let you take cell phone pictures now.(in non-major show areas)
      The Tudors’ politics were such a tangle: keep friends close and your enemies closer. Shiver. Dangerous times. Luckily the birds are a little less lethal…except the hawks. (Those are always a problem for bird and humans?)
      Thanks for pecking out a comment

      Like

  13. shoreacres / Mar 8 2013 12:15 am

    i love the doves. They’re the primary non-water bird around the marinas. They love to sit on the spreaders or the top of the mast and coo in the spring and summer. I’ve not heard much cooing yet, but a bit. The season’s about to change!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 8 2013 3:39 am

      We’ve been hearing doves cooing while walking the dog. They always sound so pretty. (Not always very smart though…we almost ran over one young one in the road today – kept waiting for it to move, but it didn’t…we drove around it, finally…doves are like cows of the sky….) This is the nice time of year here. Thanks for sailing by to comment

      Like

  14. SingingTuna / Mar 8 2013 1:47 am

    BEST POST EVER.
    Truly.
    If I could give it an award I would.
    ::applause::

    Cat meat baby. The bird story we should all read. Lyrical, soaring, and smile-making.

    I could hear the mourning dove song all along the way (mixed with whispers and squawks). Cat meat baby — sounds like a wonderful new drama on cable TV…a community powerhouse, dignified, quiet. The Bird Boss.

    LOVE this!!!!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 8 2013 3:45 am

      That little bird is just so funny. Last summer the flock was well over 20 mourning doves. We now have some of the big white ones (Aztecs?), too. The squirrel keeps trying to sneak in under cover of doves – but Molly sees him…her charges at the fence upsets the younger doves. It’s funny to see a squirrel jumping up a palm tree! THanks for your encouragement – glad you got a giggle

      Like

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