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April 24, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Beady eyes. Run!

Saw him. There.

Knew those black, soulless, beady eyes were watching.

Darn. Stupid sidewalk crack. Nothing like looking a fool to reinforce the general impression.

rough alley./Flickr/ Image by "Wrote" from Sweden/

Not that far. Doesn’t look too ominous. That “Jaws” music? (Wrote/Flickr/

Not going to alter path.

Shoulders square. Even pace.

Bullies read body language.

He’s there. Watching.

1954.Eva Marie Saint.Trailer."On the Waterfront"/,no cr/

Gut it up. Pretend not to see. Casually slip by.

It’s a free sidewalk, dude. Will walk anywhere I please.

Saw his shoulder twitch. What does that mean?

He’s definitely not turning tail.

Doesn’t matter to me how fine you are dressed. What friends you have.

Not relevant.

Not intimidated.

Arms swinging freely. Carefree. Nonchalant.

A nervous glance sideways.

Can’t help it.

Yesterday’s confrontation….

1892. illustration.Indian Fairy Tales/Batten/,

The mind remembers horrors in its’ own way. (1892.Batten/US,

He looks like he’s on the fence about something. Undecided.

Is he gathering himself to call some derision my direction?

Ready to hop down – to block the path?

My companion senses the tension. Moves closer.


He’s winging it! He’s airborne! We’re under attack!

1954.running down dark alley scene"On the Waterfront" trailer screenshot:US cr./

Run! Don’t look back. Got that closest of kin your pocket, right?

Run, Molly Malamute, run!

Run, if you value your unblemished fur!

Make those paws put down some tracks.

That darn bluejay’s guarding his nest again!

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Apparently true with Bluejays, too.

Traveling’s dangerous right now along the Beak to Beak Byway.

Not trying to ruffle feathers,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

American Bluejay /Yanni,Flickr/

You talkin’ to me? Watch it – you and your little dog, too. (Bluejay/Yanni,Flickr/




  1. marthaschaefer / Apr 24 2014 1:09 pm

    Loved this one, Phil!


  2. katecrimmins / Apr 24 2014 1:15 pm

    We had a mockingbird nest in a tree on our property near the house several years ago. They can get mean protecting their brood and would swoop my husband every time he mowed the lawn. He started wearing hats to be safe!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 1:35 pm

      It’s the defensive time of year. They are getting serious. That’s one big fierce bluejay, I’m telling ya’. Thanks nesting a comment over here


      • katecrimmins / Apr 24 2014 1:37 pm

        Bluejays can be loud! Perhaps his chirp is worse than his bite but they used to swoop my old cat Jake.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 4:34 pm

          Bluejays are loud. And apparently smart. My neighbor is nursing a head jab. It’s hats rain or shine right now.


          • katecrimmins / Apr 24 2014 5:33 pm

            Oh my! We haven’t had any “human” incidents, just Jake. Of course he would eat their babies given half a chance. On the other hand, I would not! We have more of a problem with mockingbirds. They…well…mock you as you run to the house.


  3. Ally Bean / Apr 24 2014 1:37 pm

    We’ve got the same thing going on right now in our backyard (aka the forest primeval). Every person and beastie around here gives them a wide girth. Those are mean birds.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 4:39 pm

      They are extremely proactive in the protection of young dept. Cats are supposed to be indoor animals here as it’s a bird sanctuary, but the raccoons, possums,field mice(that one, is pretty rat-like) and hawks have the birds on edge. Hard to blame them – but couldn’t we wear “friend of birds” stickers or something and be given safe passage? A mad parent bird can certainly clear an area. Thanks for flying in a comment


  4. roughseasinthemed / Apr 24 2014 1:59 pm

    Same with seagulls. They will swoop down soooo low. I think they have been watching too much Hitchcock. Monkeys are easier to deal with. Take care Molly, the boys send you paw waves.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 3:35 pm

      Some of the gulls down on the shore are pretty aggressive…they know the tourists have food and are easily frightened by large numbers of swooping beak open birds. Catch up with you shortly!


  5. gingerfightback / Apr 24 2014 2:27 pm

    Brilliant – we have a Woodpecker in the garden this summer


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 4:40 pm

      Woodpeckers are cool birds. Rare here – apparently not fond of palm trees and the oaks aren’t big enough to be considered? Thanks for chirping along


  6. PiedType / Apr 24 2014 3:35 pm

    Bluejays seem to be labeled “pests” most of the time, but I think their beauty more than makes up for it. Now that you mention it, that’s another species I haven’t seen in Denver. Between them and the cardinals, seems I left the most colorful ones behind. At least we have goldfinches.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 3:42 pm

      What? The Rocky Mountain bluejays don’t range there? Those are the biggest jays I’ve ever seen – magnificent ones. The main attacker here stayed close by all winter, but now I’m glad the couple settled a bit down the road – he’s big – and quite vigilant.
      Goldfinches? That’s a nice crowd – I think some migrate thru, but don’t stay long. One of the bird groups is pretty good about alerting which birds are flying by and letting you know what food they need. The feathered guys are much more interesting societies than you would first imagine. Thanks for seeding the comment bowl


      • PiedType / Apr 24 2014 4:38 pm

        You’re thinking of the blue Steller’s Jay, I suspect. Not the same as the flashy blue-and-white guy in your picture.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 5:18 pm

          Probably – both are pretty loud talkers! (That’s picture was labeled Rocky Mountain Blue Jay…tree looks about right, but not sure about the bird)


          • PiedType / Apr 24 2014 6:42 pm

            Look up a pic of Steller’s Jay. You’ll see the difference.


          • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 7:09 pm

            They are different. Not so much white – but big! Thanks


          • PiedType / Apr 24 2014 9:55 pm

            Yep, both are big and LOUD.


  7. Paul / Apr 24 2014 5:49 pm

    As an urbanite, I seldom get direct interaction with birds, and when I do it always comes as a surpise to me. Generally, the birds are up there,and I’m down here and never the twain shall meet. Until the two twains get on the same twack. One day, one of my employees came to me with a handful of truck keys with attached brass, shiny unit tags. We had recently installed a key drop box on the outside of our building so drivers returning from runs after hours could put their truck key in there safely and so keys could be left out for starting drivers. The box was about 6 inches deep by 12 inches tall and 10 inches wide. It had a hinged lid with a hasp and a common lock that every driver had a key for. The lid extended about 2 inches beyond the front of the box and under that lip was a slot about 1.5 inches wide- big enough to insert a key but too small for hands to get in. It had been installed about a week before and keys were now being found on the walkway in front of the box. Sometimes the keys would be scattered as far as 100 feet down the walkway. This went on for about a week more and I was getting upset – with no answer in sight. Without fail, every morning all the keys were scattered down the walkway and in the grass..Then one day, I came in early, just as the sun was rising and found the same scenario – keys on the ground everywhere. I gathered them all up, unlocked the box and lifted the lid to see if any more were still in the box. Imagine my surprise when a bird flew into my face with a key in its beak and then dropped it on the sidewalk as it landed in an adjacent tree.The bird watched as I checked the box and found a bunch of twigs and feathers in the bottom. Ha! Apparently we were annoying the bird by continuing to drop our keys into what it now claimed as its new nest. There were no babies there so I had the opening on the box narrowed the same day and the issue stopped. If there had been babies,I would have left them alone and installed another modified box elsewhere,

    So, thanks for the post and the memories Phil. You’ll bring readers flocking. I’m just winging it here, but I think we’re all birds of a feather.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 24 2014 7:12 pm

      Whew! Birds are amazingly adaptable to human habitats. That bird thought it was being offered housing – and people were littering up the place. Great story. Thanks for flying in with that one!


  8. Trent Lewin / Apr 25 2014 1:25 am

    You know, I think you’re a little crazy… wasn’t sure where you were going with this, and as a recent follower of your blog, I had no context… Well done, honestly. You have a very unique voice and style, I much appreciate that.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 25 2014 2:07 pm

      Glad you found something to tickle your brain. Things aren’t always as they seem here…(have to grab the clues as they slip to the surface) Thanks for perching with the flock


  9. jannatwrites / Apr 25 2014 9:30 pm

    Haha… gotta watch out for (over)protective birds! Love the drama you built here… when I saw ‘beady eyes’ I was thinking ‘rat’, which to me, is worse than an a territorial bluejay!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 25 2014 10:01 pm

      Today we had to move quickly…the Bluejay has teamed up with a cardinal. (At least the dovies still coo to us!) Thanks for scratching up a comment


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