Well it’s been a Bank Holiday weekend whirlwind here at TMC Towers. As you may know, our small farm is roamed by mini lions (two Maine Coons and a father-daughter moggie combo).
I was pondering our chances of survival if we had to make do with what the pride brings home. This weekend we’ve had two shrews, a worm and a moth.
No indication that I’ll be cancelling the crates of gourmet cat food any time soon then – or firing up the BBQ. I think you’d probably have to just treat the moth as sushi, I’m pretty sure it would grill to nothing. In fairness, last week Dorothy caught two swallows. This, of course, is very, very bad and not to be condoned.
We take precautions. These mainly involve pinning the stable doors back when the horses are out – it means the cats can’t perch on the top of the half door and dive at the parent swallows as they swoop in and out to feed and brood the chicks. We also have a full chick recovery system. This comprises never leaving full water buckets under a nest and having a step ladder and clean bucket on standby. When we find a chick, we grab the ladder and the bucket. Pop the chick in the bucket and ascend the ladder, then retrieve it from the bucket (minimising human contact) and replace it in its bedroom – hoping we’ve popped it back in the correct nest.
This is clearly very annoying for the cats. The swallows do dive-bomb them on the yard – you have to admire their bravery.
We also have blue tits nesting in the barn-eaves nesting box and in the box under the eaves of the house. We will be on high baby-bird alert now through all (probably four) clutches of swallow chicks, and keeping a close eye on those plucky little blue tits.
Gotta love late spring!