The garden is full of fledglings at the moment, and last week I disturbed a tabby that had grabbed a small bird. Fortunately the bird escaped once the cat’s attention was diverted; I don’t know if it survived. Hence on Tuesday at Leighton Moss I bought a cat scarer – a battery-operated sensor that emits a high-pitched sound which is supposed to send cats scarpering. (I have checked that it is sited high enough not to be triggered by the hedgehogs.) I have no idea if it works or not: Lawrence’s cat crept in on Wednesday but I don’t know if it had triggered the detector before it spotted me – the alternative cat scarer – and fled as fast as its portly frame would allow.
There were a lot of white feathers on the lawn this morning, so I assumed that the scarer had failed and the killer tabby had struck again. However, what I saw later while hanging out the washing suggests a different story. A pigeon ignored my presence and was hoovering up around the base of the bird feeder. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tussle start with a second bird. I instantly thought it was another pigeon, and, not wanting to be a witness to a fight or a leg-over situation, I shooed them off and they separated. It was only then that I saw that the second bird was a sparrowhawk and that he had already ripped out a few of the pigeon’s feathers.
So that probably solves the mystery of this morning’s feathers. I am not inclined to come between a sparrowhawk and its lunch, but on balance I would prefer not to have a bloodbath under my nose.
Still no indication that the cat scarer is working, though. Apart from the absence of cats, that is.