This past week was my grandson's 3rd birthday....His dad is frustrated in that he spends little time kicking balls, playing with bats etc... (being a huge Philly fan dad is), but loves to be outside and pick up rocks, look at plants....does little science experiments with his parents etc. So, it was only natural that he deserved to have a bird feeder for his birthday. I went over to the Ace Hardware in Galloway and purchased a nice feeder for him.....that was 'squirrel proof'...supposedly. And though it is squirrel proof, I have found it is not kid proof or cat proof, well...in a sense as senses have everything to do with it.
I hung up the feeder on a pole outside their living room window in a bushy area with a tree overhanging...perfect for birds to be safe from predators, and also perfect to prevent grackles, crows, cowbirds etc...Jonah and I poured feed into the feeder and while he understood the concept of 'pouring', it wasn't altogether a perfect 'pour'...
But here is the issue.....cats and kids and senses. The house cat...(inside), has found the window seat to be her favorite perch and watches hours of live bird television from there. The kid, loves the same window seat and chases the cat away as he watches bird TV. They have a tough time sharing the window perfect even sharing is in his vocabulary.
The birds on the other hand, notice the cat or the kids even though they are inside and thru a closed window. I noticed today how tentative they were about approaching the feeder with the cat in partial view. When the kid is anywhere in view, they are beyond tentative.
Now, birds are skittish as we all know from any bird feeder we have in our yards. When we sit on the deck and swat away mosquitoes, birds really could care less about our problem. They peck on. But if we approach the feeder no matter how stealthily we might be, they flitter away.
So how relative we are in terms of closeness to the feeder comes into play. The other thing is 'bird sense'.....not as in horse sense, but sense as in 'sense of smell' and 'sense of eyesight' or what I believe is a hidden sense, that of 'sense of instinct'.
According to Tudge (2008), he states that birds are aware of predators not only by eyesight but by smell. It is debatable about how keen their sense of smell is, and much research suggests that the sense of smell is secondary to that of sight. Perhaps..... As in this particular case, can a bird smell a cat thru a closed window? Not sure, but surely they can see a cat thru a closed window.
The other sense that I often wonder about as I view birds is that of 'instinct'. I believe I have eluded to this before but how many times do I observe a bird either in my walks or on feeders etc...and when I grab my bins or scope to view them, either the bird immediately flies off, or ....I almost see it pause it's behavior, and stop ....think...reflect (no perhaps not think as in our understanding of that word)....but more along the lines of an unknown instinct to humans of being 'aware' ... A sense of awareness, a sense of presence, a sense of danger, a sense that someone is watching me and it has 'big eyes'.
Having an acute sense of instinct wouldn't be uncommon as other species have senses we lack. Did you realize that the ancient Egyptians recognized 18 senses within humans and yet, today, our world of humans only recognizes the basic five. Hmmm...makes you wonder that yes, perhaps using those instincts, they could have built the pyramids.
But back to the bird feeder..... I haven't yet....but I intend to move the feeder a few yards away from the window to prevent either the cat or kid from chasing away birds.