The Cardinal and the Culprit

Yesterday was cleaning day. To avoid the vacuum noise and added activity the cats headed downstairs and out to the catio seeking quiet and escape from the indoor clamor. When all was vacuumed and order restored I headed to the basement myself to put up a couple of items. There my newly vacuumed carpet was sprinkled with tiny bird feathers- strewn about and my heart sank…

I caught sight of my cat Bob stark still observing something closely in the corner of the window just inside the small catio door. It was a female cardinal, panting, wild eyed and missing its tail feathers and some of its crest feathers, it made me feel sick. I attempted to gently capture her in my hands but she flew with Bob close behind. Screaming at Bob he gave up chase and frantic, I called for Dan to come and retrieve her while I managed Bob. Dan checked her over and took her out front to a holly bush for cover.

The cardinal was exhausted and injured but exhibited strong wing power, so we just kept an eye out for her all afternoon. She soon flew from the holly to our little courtyard garden. There the euonymus tree would potentially provide a snack of berries, bird bath underneath and sufficient branches to hang onto- some cover in the brutal Kansas wind. By evening she had disappeared and I prayed she would make it and not be suffering.

This morning there was no sign of the little cardinal and our hope and prayer was that she was resting and gaining strength despite awkward flying ability due to the missing tail feathers. Mid morning I looked out back to the flat feeder where a plump bird was hunched down enjoying sunflower seeds. I got out the binoculars to get a very close view and yes, it was her- the little Mrs Cardinal had survived the culprit from the catio.

Somehow the cat had snagged her, brought her through the catio pet door, into the basement and then relentlessly chased her. For all the terror she endured she is looking great except a bit shorter right now. We spent yesterday afternoon looking for a solution to avoid any other birds the horror she went through yesterday,,, the catio fencing is now surrounded by additional hardware wire (Thanks to Dan), still allowing the cats great viewing but little birds no entry into the area.

She has been christened “Stubby” by Dan, but she is little Miss Courage the Cardinal to me. And Bob, well he is in the “dog house” for a bit…. but today we are feeling blessed and relieved at Green Heron Pond!

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