BIRDS IN PARTICULAR
HALLE O’FALVEY. columnist
A stormy, cold August night, four years ago, my son, Myles, caught a glimpse of white on Hwy 52, just outside of Rochester, MN. He took the next exit to go back and pulled over to find one tiny, white kitten that fit in the palm of his hand. She bit him hard, turning her emaciated coat as pink as her transparent skin and ear tips. She looked about six weeks old. Her early life is unknown, but it was clear she had been out there on the highway for some time, surviving on her own. Later, her incisors revealed she was 14 weeks old at 1.5 ounces. Tina became my cat; she is forever grateful.
She has dog-like behaviors, greeting me at the door, following me around in the house everywhere I go. Sometimes she fetches her cat toys. She can do one trick for a treat. And loves to go outside when I garden. This year with Covid-19 she has become more attached to me, so I let her out in the yard without a leash. She does not travel far from me and I watch her as if she were a toddler.
On the other hand, Tina is a predator.
Snakes and rabbits reject our plat on Arbor Street. The birds stay high in the spruce tree, the crows on the perimeter. There were three days when a fledged baby crow was in the yard during flight school. Tina stayed in observing from the side porch window as I had a 10-minute conversation with the little blue-eyed covidae.
I do not have a lot of habitat for the wildlife this year because of a new landscaping project that included bonsaiing a willow tree last year and 16 inches of topsoil. Tina climbs this 7-limbed 15-foot bio-sculpture. My tradeoff for birds and critters this year is bittersweet. But I have a little girl who loves to climb up to her outpost and survey her sovereignty. A mighty triumph for a wee one tossed over the highway fence.