Well, yes, of course I have gone ahead and done it......you knew I would. I certainly wasn't going to let that perfectly good, brand new cage go to waste, now was I?
The Cat Lady is now aka The Bird Lady of Califa St. I am now the proud, somewhat rattled mother of two pair of lovely, delightful zebra Finches. I do not know why they are called zebra.....they do have black and white patches or stripes on the head....at least the males do.....the females are more subdued. One has a sprinkling of black feathers and white here and there on a beige body; the other female is all soft off white and they all have gorgeous vermillion beaks. The males also have glowing round vermillion patches on their cheeks kind of like avian clowns......red noses, red cheeks, but nothing clumsy about these guys......they are delicate and graceful and OMG are they busy. Flying from perch to perch, flitting hither and yon checking out their mansion.....60,000 square feet, two bedrooms, one bath, two servants constantly dropping bits of lettuce cucumber, grapes, eggshell through the bars like manna from heaven, seed and water dishes always refilled. Today the head servant went out to gather grass and various select twigs to provide building materials for when they decide to construct their nurseries in the nesting baskets. I was told to step back and let them do it themselves or hire their own contractor. Sigh.
It was so funny when they were first introduced into the cage....one pushy male immediately flew up and checked out and briefly inhabited one of the nesting baskets, little red bill poking out. This is ours, he said in no uncertain terms. Didn't even consult his wife, the male chauvinist pig. Hmmm....now that I think about it, I am not sure if he had even decided on which of the females he intended to claim and drag by the hair into their cave. He may be like some of the men I have known,only briefly, who plan to appropriate both females for his harem. I hope the other guy doesn't let him get away with it.......or maybe they will all share....who knows. In all of the literature I have recently read about finches, nothing mentioned whether or not they are monogamous like Mourning Doves. Well, that is their business I do not really care one whit about their sex lives as long as they are happy. Of course I do hope thay are not all gay because I am looking forward to some eggs and babies, but I guess if they are all homosexual they can always adopt.
I think the head servant has been busier then the finches. To tell the truth, I am exhausted....mostly from anxiety that this process should all go well, but a good part from running/shlepping/limping around getting everything set up. And last night, because they are on the open porch which is where the nitely buffet is set out for strays, possum, raccoons, I devised an intricate security system for them. No, it does not have a bell that rings in my bedroom.....though I wish I could have one of those. I remembered having, in my garage, several of those 6 foot x 7 foot slat blinds which I used to have hanging in the sun room for reasons which I cannot remember and I decided that if I stood the thing on end and wrapped it snugly around the cage and fastened with a bungy cord that it would create a 7 foot tall pillar of an unimpregnable fortress. I had to struggle a bit with it, but it did go up well and I went to bed praying I would not hear a resounding crash during the night with a few pitiful twitters of goodbye from my feathered children. I did sleep, but not well I will admit and with the dawn I staggered out to peer out the window to see if the fortress was still standing. Huzzah, it was! Actually, Florence and I discussed this and she suggested simply bringing the cage inside and setting it on the floor in the atrium where they would be totally safe,. I think we may do that tonight. I will certainly sleep better, I don't think the birds give a shit, if you will pardon the expression.
Now my main problem is that with my poor vision I cannot really see my precious pets very well in all their detailed glory. I have to keep asking poor Florence whether there are still 4 birds in the cage.....she will undoubtedly end up hating me and them.....oh dear....I hope not. I will have to start limiting my queries to just 5 or 6 times a day. I am experimenting with tools to see them better,,,trying a pair of old opera glasses, binoculars, my old prescription distance glasses whatever I can find that will help. Meanwhile I must be satisfied with whatever I am able to see........it is still fascinating to me.
By the way.....to all those naysayers out there I can state that they are not in the least bit messy....not a seed has been flung outside their cage nor are they noisy.....sweet little tweets and twitters now and them, hardly audible. So there....nyah, nyah. I appreciate all the words of caution I received, but, being this insufferable, incurable optimist, I am glad none of the negatives have surfaced.
I have been playing with names for my chillun and cannot decide whether to name them fancy names like Delilah, Elspeth, Nigel Fortescue, silly names like Butch and Spike or just Eeny, Meeny, Miney and Moe. Since the only one I can really identify is the white female I may just name her and call the others whatever I feel like on a give day.....they will definitely not care nor will they respond to anything I call them......the ingrates......they will just order me around like the rest of my children never picking up after themselves and continuing to stay and mooch off of me even after they are adults with families of their own bickering away out there about how the mansion needs more bedrooms and an extra bath.
Good Lord, what have I done???? I might as well have had real children........no, no........for me this is the right path, at least no dirty diapers.
Tune in again for the next installment............sometime soon.
The New Yorker covers: July 7 & 13, 2008
8 hours ago