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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Do birds get bored - finches update

When someone exhibits great patience it’s often said that he has the patience of Job. You know who else has great patience? Birds.

Faithfull readers have undoubtedly been following my experience with a couple of finches who made their nest on my 11th-floor balcony. We’ve affectionally named them Mr. and Mrs. Bird.

After checking the place out for a couple of days, Mr. and Mrs. Bird got busy flying to and from with building materials and we’ve been taking pictures while the couple is away.
At first, we merely admired the nest, but one day we noticed an egg. A few days later there was a second egg, then a third and as of today there are six eggs.


Mrs. Bird sits on those eggs from early in the morning ‘till sundown. Just sitting there. I admire her patience. How does she do it? Doesn’t she get bored? There’s no TV to watch, no music to listen to, no computer the entertain her, she doesn’t even have a book to read. She just sits there. The only distraction she has is when Mr. Bird comes to visit two or three times a day to check on her.

Admittedly, from the 11th floor she has a nice view of the Toronto skyline, but how long can one look at a distant city without tiring of it? She also keeps an eye on our cats.

Mickey, Charlotte, Gabriel and Holly regularly go outside. They make no attempts to catch the birdie, but they do like looking at it and talking to it. A cat talking to a bird … that’s right, Mickey makes a variety of noises that sound like twittering.

We’ve often joked that Mick doesn’t stand a chance catching a bird. Not only do they see him coming a mile away, he can’t keep his mouth shut. Or is he perhaps speaking the language of birds and is he trying to confuse out feathered friends? Who knows. Either way, the cats look at the bird and the bird looks at them. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter + finches update

Happy Easter to all my faithful readers across the world.
Did the Easter bunny surprise you with any chocolate eggs? I certainly hope so.

A short while ago I saw a post on Facebook where a woman stated that she had received healthy snacks from the Easter bunny. Unless you’re a diabetic, which she is not, healthy snacks have no place at Easter. Not for adults and not for kids. Have you ever heard something so ridiculous? Healthy snacks for Easter … whatever next?

These health nuts are really pushing it too far. You can’t have this, you can’t have that, this is bad for you and that is bad for you and blah blah blah. Yet look at them … they are allergic to this and that, the wind blows and they get a cold and in general, their immune system is so weak that they get affected by all kinds of ailments.

Older generations in comparison are strong healthy individuals. They eat, drink and smoke and waltz through life without a care in the world. Just this morning I read that the oldest woman alive, born and raised in Italy, died at the age of 117. Do you think she ate healthy snacks? My guess is she never even heard of such a thing. And if she did, dismissed it with ‘queste sciocchezze’.

I remember back in my day, my brother and I used to stand in front of the window on Easter morning, peering into the garden to spot any eggs. Armed with a plastic pot we would venture out and look under shrubs and behind trees to collect the eggs. There usually was quite a selection of white, brown and black ones for us kids, and a big, beautiful cellophane wrapped one for mom.

This morning I found an egg myself. Not a chocolate egg but an egg laid by Mrs. Finch. Regular readers might remember that a couple of finches built a nest on my balcony. I promised that I would follow up on the story so here it is … so far one egg in the nest.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Feathered engineers

A few days ago I reported that two finches had chosen a wrath on my balcony to make their nest. In the meantime, considerable progress has been made.

The work usually starts around 8:00 a.m. at which time the birds start flying to and from to get materials for their nest. At first, it was twigs and grasses, but now that the nest is built, Mrs. Finch is lining it with feathers.

I wonder where she gets those feathers. Does she use her own? Does the steal a few off Mr. Finch, or does she pluck them her unsuspecting feathered friends? Either way, the nest is looking good. See for yourself …

Considering Mrs. Finch only used her beak, this is just a magnificent piece of engineering.

How are the cats doing, you might wonder?

The poor things are tired. They are just pooped. While they were able to get some solid sleep during the day, now they get woken up every so often by the twittering of Mr. and Mrs. Finch. Whenever they hear the birds they wake up and go to the balcony to have a look.

But actually, I should put that in the past tense. While they’ve been active bird watchers all week, today their attention started to dwindle. They seem to realize that they can’t catch those birds, so why bother? At best, their ears prick up whenever the twittering starts, or they lazily open one eye.

Why would they want to catch such a small bird anyway? Take away the feathers and the bones and how much meat is on such a little finch, hardly any. It’s more of an appetizer than a meal, or worse, an amuse-bouche.

Either way, I think the cats will be glad when the building of the nest is finished. Then again, once completed Mrs. Finch will lay her eggs and sit on them practically 24/7, while Mr. Finch brings her food. And later still, once the little ones have hatched, they will start to twitter to be fed and generally to get mom’s attention.

Oh these poor cats. Maybe I should get them some earplugs.

Meanwhile, don't forget to donate to the Toronto Cat Rescue. Shelter cats need your help. Any amount is appreciated but donations of $20 or more receive a tax receipt.

Donations can be made to my PayPal address at:
or at

Monday, April 10, 2017

Wondering about the intelligence of birds

I’ve come to wonder about the intelligence of finches. A pair of them is making a nest on my balcony.

If my balcony were like any other balcony, I would say okay, it’s a perfectly nice spot for them, but it isn’t. I live on the 11th floor of a condo building with 192 units, which means 192 balconies. 20 of those balconies are fitted with netting, to keep pets and children safe.

This means that this pair of birds had 172 balconies to choose from to make their nest, but no, they apparently like a challenge because they choose my netting fitted balcony. They have found a way to get in and out and have been flying to and from a place where they get materials for their nest.

For a couple of days Mr. Finch came to check the place out first, then he brought Mrs. Finch and apparently she approved. They were twittering up a storm, pecking their way through the netting to take a closer look and since that day have been flying in and out to prepare a home for their expected little finches.

Why do I doubt their intelligence … because I have four cats! Two of them, Charlotte and Gabriel couldn’t care less about these tiny birds, but with the other two, Mickey and Holly, the birds have their full attention. They sit on the ledge of the balcony, waiting for the couple to visit, licking their lips in anticipation.

Do the birds care? Not at all. They land on the netting, move their heads sideways to look at the cats, and proceed to come inside anyway to land on this wrath, the place they’ve chosen to make a nest.

Why couldn’t they have gone someplace else? A place more easily accessible and without the threat of cats?

When I looked online there are several ways to attract finches, two of them, placing feeders in easily accessible places and providing them with a water bowl. I didn’t do either of these things, yet to me, the finches come.


Meanwhile, don't forget to donate to the Toronto Cat Rescue. Shelter cats need your help. Any amount is appreciated but donations of $20 or more receive a tax receipt.

Donations can be made to my PayPal address at:
or at