My (Un)conditional Love for Animals

I love animals and I am grateful that our house, although located in an urban area, is surrounded by greenery. If our busy lives prevent us from having pets of our own I can at least enjoy observing all the wildlife around us. And surprisingly, there is a lot going on. But my love and admiration has some unusual ups and downs as my husband pointed out recently.

I love blackbirds. They are my favorite bird species living around here. Their singing in the wee hours of the morning signals that spring has finally arrived. I could listen to them for hours on end. And they are not just some dumb birds with tiny bird brains. In fact, one could almost admire their intelligence and resourcefulness. Every time when we finish mowing our grass they inspect every inch of it, poking their yellow beaks everywhere searching for worms. I simply adore them… as long as they stay away from our blueberries! I mean, I feed them apples in winter, pour them water to bathe in on hot summer days, at least they could do in return is show some respect for what is supposed to be our food! But no, oh no, the first time our blueberry carried some fruit we were waiting in vain for the berries to start ripening. They just wouldn’t turn blue. Then we found a blackbird couple in the middle of the bush skillfully picking berry after berry – only the ones that showed some color, of course. We carefully wrapped the whole bush into some protection (what’s ours is ours!) and – see that – the next day we could pick a whole bowl of our first ripe blueberries! I still cannot grasp how those two birds could finish off so much fruit in a single day.

Since I've written this text (some three weeks ago) it seems as if all of the blackbirds have vanished from our garden. Now I've had enough of waiting for a photo opp, so I've just drawn one. I bet this is just one of their devious plans to mock me...
This is just a placeholder for a photo of a blackbird.

I am also a big fan of hedgehogs and I sympathise deeply with every poor thing which ends up under the wheels of a car. I simply don’t understand how someone can run over a lovely creature like that. So you can imagine my excitement as I came across our own resident hedgehog one evening, making its way across our lawn. His appearance (somehow I believe it’s a he) also explained the mystery of animal feces I was finding every morning at our doorstep. So while I proudly share our garden with a hedgehog, I am also daily annoyed by his droppings at the most inappropriate locations. Come on, you have the whole garden basically to yourself, why do you have to shit right in front of our door!?

Cats are another of my beloved animals, although one can hardly regard them as wildlife. Especially the spoiled neighbor’s cats which make their daily rounds in our garden. I like watching them how they carefully observe the surroundings, noticing every slightest change which they also dutifully mark with their urine. Cats are very inquisitive. A fact that is confirmed after every rain by numerous muddy paw tracks leading all the way across our terrace ending on our outdoor table. They can really drive me crazy. And somehow they’ve worked out our daily schedules because I’ve never seen them doing any of that while we are at home. I guess they are trying to show us in their superior feline way who is really in charge of our garden.

Somehow this look makes me feel like an intruder in my own house.

We also enjoy the company of crows and squirrels, some ducks occasionally fly by and recently I’ve even noticed a family of martens playfully chasing each other around in the garden. While I am happy to be surrounded with so much nature the emotional instability this is causing in me is slowly starting to worry me. I can go from admiring the cute blackbirds into a state of pure rage as soon as they approach the blueberry, then back to being awestruck at how they are able to find the slightest opening in the protective netting to steal a berry. Amazing, really! But that’s the whole magic of nature, right?

P.S.: I intend to photographically document all the animals mentioned in the post to prove that I am not imagining this. I’ve been on the watch for a couple of weeks now but somehow they’ve managed to escape the lens of my camera. I bet this is just another of their devious plans to mock me.