Effie has never killed a bird, but her chasing of birds has resulted in a few avian injuries. She has injured them but backed off and let them recover and fly off. This morning was different. Looking out the window, I saw her tossing a tiny bird in the air, batting it, and catching it with her paws and her teeth. When the little creature hit the ground without getting up, I intervened.
Effie lay down on her haunches next to me while I examined the little bird, a tiny female goldfinch. Her eyes were closed, but she was breathing. One wing looked disjointed. She flexed her feet continuously, and I thought it could be rigor mortis.
The birds who have hit the ground of Effieland stunned have been ones who entered through the fence and eventually crashed into the outside of our house and simply landed there, stunned for a while. Effie always left them alone to recover, and eventually they regained the strength to return through the wire fencing and depart. Invariably these birds were mourning doves. They were large and strong and canny, and Effie only chased them when they were flying and her attempts to snag them were thwarted.
The goldfinch was very small, and I was furious to see Effie playing a catch-and-launch game with it. When the little bird hit the ground and didn’t get up, the game was over. I gave Effie to understand that I was her prey’s protector. She yowled to return to her garden, but I stood fast. She was grounded whether she understood the reason or not. She is napping peaceably in her chair.
I went out to the spot where the bird had been after about an hour, grim at the thought of Effie’s first bird kill. But the little finch was gone! She had left her spot and I could not find her anywhere in Effieland, though it would be almost impossible to see her among all the vegetation. In any case, Effie is not there for now, and no other predators can get in.
Thanks to God’s preserving grace, this tiny female goldfinch is a true survivor!
AFTERWORD: Confident that the little goldfinch escaped, I relented and let Effie out to resume her proper role as sovereign of Effieland. She played cat and bird too roughly, but the bird evidently survived and will likely select gentler play companions in the future.