It was a freakishly warm, sunny day in a stretch of otherwise freezing ones, so I grabbed the opportunity to tidy up the garden of those naughty autumn leaves. We’ll gloss over the fact that they’ve been there over two and a half months. As I was going about shifting huge swathes of what can only be described as mulch in the general direction of the compost heap, a muffled meaow caught my attention.
That can only mean one thing: Osem had his mouth full.
I was right. He trotted past, a pair of wings furiously flapping around his whiskers and he was clearly very excited about putting this particular plaything down and batting it around a bit, before crunching into his fresh birdie breakfast. The thing about Osem is that indoors he’s the biggest softie, the closest thing to a teddy bear you could get; all purrs, rubs and kisses, never EVER having bitten or scratched us in all of his seven little years. Get him out in the open however, and he becomes an arch assassin, maiming and torturing rats, mice, shrews and birds for pure pleasure.
Not on my watch, buster. This time the bird’s got an ally.
Actually I did think that I might have been too late. Osem had already deposited said bird on the gravel; I growled at him to leave the area, and he reluctantly skulked off*. The bird was extremely still. On closer inspection, it was breathing. Hyperventilating, actually. Not really surprising I suppose, bearing in mind its view not five minutes previously had been of very sharp teeth and …a terrifying abyss from which it hadn’t expected to return.
So I left it where it was, whilst keeping an eye on Osem who was trying ever more elaborate ways to return to his quarry, and finish off the job in hand (paw). About 15 minutes later I popped back to see whether he’d just given up and popped his little avian clogs, but I was surprised to see him exactly where he was! Making (what I considered to be) soothing noises I scooped him up to see whether he had sustained any injuries during his ordeal. He was still too scared to move except to steady himself on my fingers, holding on for dear life. No damage, just a couple of dislodged feathers – phew!
Time to get out of Osem’s sightline, I thought. So I gently lowered him onto a thorny branch behind the fence. He seemed hesitant to remove himself from my fingers, but we got him there and he remained upright. With a final stroke on his tiny little head and a nod to nature giving thanks for his second chance, I left him to it.
Osem was busy on the roof of the shed, having a go at something else, and when I looked back, my little winged friend was gone (no, he hadn’t fallen off the branch, I checked). My day was a little warmer as a result!