About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Trials of Living in a Bird Store

My boys are the best but let's face it, they’re 'fraidy cats. (I’m talking about my cats Jay Bird “JB” and Eli “Blue Birdie”) We occasionally get birds in the Wild Birds Unlimited East Lansing store. This isn't because we have massive amounts of the best bird food.

The starlings were here before we opened the store a few years ago, swooping in and out via uncovered air vents on the sides of the building. We thought it was a good sign. Now I hear the tick, tick, tick as they walk across the ceiling tiles and I watch the cats' heads follow the noise above them.

The birds usually make their way out the same way they came in, but sometimes a curious fellow will drop in if he discovers a hole in the ceiling. When that happened my boys used to run to me with big eyes and alert me that there was trouble. Now with Dolly in the mix it's a little different. Dolly, here since last October, isn't afraid of these large birds.

I actually named her Darling Starling because she was black and white. Her name was later shortened to Dolly. (I found it much easier to yell “DOLLY come down, DOLLY get out of there, DOLLY leave your brothers alone, DOLLY don’t eat that spider…" than Darling.) And I have to be a little more vigilant now when I hear thump, thumping in the back room.

We had a starling in the store two times this week. The first time the tick, ticking on the ceiling was driving me crazy and I cracked open the ceiling. The bird flew down and I picked him up at the closed window and took him outside with Dolly watching my every move.

The second time I heard a thump, thump in the back and then silence. I went to investigate. Dolly had the back end of a Starling in her mouth and the boys were poised on their tippy toes, high up on the fax machine, far, far away from her!

“Yikes, Dolly what do you have?” Not quite sure what I was screaming about she dropped the bird and I grabbed him as he was trying to escape through a closed window.

Once nabbed, I put him outside and he flew away with a lesson learned, hopefully. Why are we seeing so many birds in the store right now? Well, even though there is still snow on the ground these birds were probably already scouting for appropriate nesting sights. What fun! I am envisioning the pitter pat of baby starling feet in my near future.


Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I always love seeing the cats at the EL store

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Thank you. I'm conscience that this blog is about birds and nature but the cats sometimes just have to be recognized. They could give me tons of writing material. If I had enough ambition I'd have a spin off blog about all their daily antics.

Vetsy said...

Cats and their different character traits amaze me.. I have had many cats in my life time and not one was the same.

I laughed out loud as I visioned BJ and Eli searching for you with fear in their eyes..Lol"

Love this story... Dolly is a pretty cat, I like her black and white pattern.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Dolly is a little doll and she knows it too! She loves when people talk pretty to her.

Eli sometimes gets a little jealous of all the attention she receives, but I tell him that he's still my baby (all twenty pounds of him).

JB is 15 years old. I call him my mellow fellow because he balances everything out in the end. He never demands anything from me except a couple cuddles and little hair brushing a couple times a day.

They do really help out at the store and I'm very lucky to have them around.

CE Webster said...

Sounds like you're having fun! Dolly looks like a great cat to have around.

cindyzlogic said...

Great story! What would we do without animals, birds, and nature in our lives!

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Thank you for the nice comments.

I just woke up from a nightmare that I had to rescue another kitty. So I put it our there that you should never let your cats outside unsupervised, and don't ever release a cat to fend for itself if you don't want it anymore.

Please do the responsible thing and take it to a shelter or place an ad to find it a new home.

And remember to spay and neuter your animals.

Priscilla said...

This is a fun post, esp. "the tick, tick, tick" passage.

Hey, Spring must be on its way. Starlings in my yard today show iridescent feathers and yellow bills! Yay!

Sue said...

Missing the kitties, I must visit soon and stock up on seed and say hello. Since the ice storm, the squirrels found a way to jump to the feeders - and are eating all the bird seed. I need to prune the bent branch or move the feeder pole
when the ground thaws - whenever that might be.