Even the cream colored cat who roams my yard, and even the arrival of November two weeks early, can't keep the birds away from here. Even my own neglect of the feeder and the birdbaths hasn't discouraged them. As I sat lazily flipping channels between football games this afternoon, I was distracted by the activity on the back porch.
More than distracted, really. I watched the dozen or so birds, sparrows and phoebes mostly, who chased each other around the beams and bounced around the benches. Then they would swoop up and out, and I'd see them overhead through the dormer window, two or three at a time looking as if they all wanted to sit on the same tiny ledge. Then off again, across the yard or down to the ground to check for food.
They're getting bolder. Sticking closer to the house, yes, even when I approach the sliding glass doors. Sometimes they seem to be trying to come inside, hovering at the door and watching me. I can frighten them off, briefly, with any sudden motion, but they're back before I'm completely out of sight again. Maybe they're digging in for the winter ahead, looking for the warmest refuge. Or this could be their last goodbye before flying off to safer harbors.
The cat comes around. It slinks across the yard, with no interest in the birds (or so it appears). Checking the ground, pretending to pounce on something moving in the dry, flattened weeds. Since it never comes up with anything, and I never see it parading off with a dead or soon-dead something between its teeth, I don't believe in the sincerity of this game. I think it knows the birds are nearby.
The birds know, too. They let the cat get close enough then dart out of harm's way. Like base runners gauging the pitcher's move, they know how far they can lead off and still get back before being picked off.
The cat is a minor nuisance to them, and so a minor nuisance to me. I've made peace with the fact that its always here. It belongs somewhere else, with people who feed it and take care of it (as much as any cat allows itself to be taken care of). It's not my cat, nor do I wish it to be. Just a fellow creature enjoying the capers of the birds, for as long as they decide to stay.