So, I haven't talked much about the birds since the babies fledged last December. As you may remember, my attempts to unload the five new birds were unsuccessful and I found myself with seven Zebra Finches.
Okay, fine. So I have seven. They are cheerful and sweet and fun to watch, even if seven of them are a bit messier than I would have liked (two were bad enough), but fine. I clean the cage and vacuum the rug every week (the over-sized bath sheet I use as a drop cloth catches a lot, but not enough). I even bought a new cage and practically traumatized them in the transfer. But the cage had more room for them and was much easier for me to clean. Today was a general house-cleaning day for me. I did the bathroom (toilet, tub and sink), dusted the tables and entertainment center and ran the vacuum.
And, like every weekend since it's gotten warm enough to do so, I took the birds' cage and stand outside to clean it. Now, my biggest worry in doing this has always been the few feral cats that roam my neighborhood, but they are usually asleep somewhere during the day and they have not bothered them at all. Occasionally another bird (usually a wild and slightly larger finch) would land on top of the cage, but I've never had a problem with having them outside.
So today, I do the usual routine. I set them up in the side yard; shook the bath sheet out; emptied the seed tray and dumped the old newspaper. I was about to take the tray to the garden hose, so I could spray it down. My back was turned for 2 seconds when I heard this loud "Bang!" I turned back to see this completely evil, foul, malevolent, bushy-tailed rat of a squirrel clinging to the side of the cage as it is tipping over. As you can imagine, the cage came crashing down to the ground, breaking apart and scattering my birds to the skies in seven different directions, without any possible hope of catching a single one of them.
Now I know some of you are saying, "Well, birds don't belong in cages. They're meant to fly free." Which, to some extent, is very true. But this are Zebra Finches, birds which are native to Australia and which have been bred and raised in captivity; their food and water brought to them; their every need taken care of. I fear that in the wilds of southeastern Pennsylvania, they do not have much hope of surviving for very long. Especially my favorite, little Znowball, who being all white, has no camouflage from cats and other predatory birds. I went out several times, hoping to see them at the wild bird feeder I keep in my yard, and heard one peeping away in a nearby tree, but could not catch sight of it.
So, in conclusion, squirrels are the devil in a not-so-cute little rodent costume, waiting to wreak havoc on the human race at every given opportunity. I am not a fan. Sigh... just one more thing to add to my growing melancholy.
On a cheerier note, though...
I spent the evening with my good friend Dale. We had a lovely meal of grilled sausages and deli salads, with carrot cake for dessert. Then we walked down the hill of his expansive back yard (which backs up to a lovely park) to watch the Flemington municipal 4th of July fireworks show. Dale, who is an amazingly talented artist and scenic designer, also agreed to design my Eye of Horus tatt, based on my specs (a less-complicated variation of choice 'D,' if you're wondering). So the day wasn't completely awful, I suppose.
Oh, well. I've already decided that I'm getting a budgie, next week. I intend to teach it to talk and I'm keeping it's wings clipped, damnit!