Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Visitors

WE'VE had two unexpected visitors this week. The first caused a great fluttery commotion as it took a wrong turn through our back door on a sunny afternoon. It took a quick tour of the house, did a U-turn and with glee made a hopeful dash towards the light. BAM! It was a scene reminiscent of the Windex ads, as the poor bird smacked into the window and fell dazed into the sink. It broke its fall on the drainer, from where I had to prise its little claws open as it hung upside down, likely wondering what strange universe it had been suddenly catapulted into. The little wren recuperated from its misadventure on top of our car, while I read up on its species. It waited until I went back to check on it to ruffle its feathers as if in thanks and flutter away. Some fun facts about the Carolina Wren:

  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Average lifespan in the wild: 6 years
  • Size: 5.5 in (14 cm)
  • State bird of : South Carolina
  • The song record goes to a male Carolina wren who sang 3,000 times in one day
  • Among other things, Carolina wrens use snakeskins to build their nests

The second visitor dropped by late at night as we opened the door to let Basil out. There was a scurrying sound behind the curtain and along the baseboard, and I admit my first instinct was to get my feet off the floor. When an inquisitive little nose twitched around the corner of the curtain, I was relieved to see it was only a mouse. (Phew, no raccoon, possum, hyena, mountain lion!) It's a funny thing that no number of adult years can compare to growing up in a country when it comes to being comfortable with its wildlife. Not for the first time did I notice the gap beneath all the interior doors since the carpet was removed, as we tried to limit its path and herd him back outside. He eluded us for about an hour before concluding that a labrador might not be the ideal housemate, and with a haughty flick of his tail left the way he'd come in.

Photo: James Politte (

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