We have a killer door. Not in the fashion sense as in “Its a killer”, stunningly beautiful”. No, our door kills things.
Well, maybe that’s too harsh. After all, this is the door that provides endless hours of genuine pleasure for us, especially in the mornings, as we watch the birds tussle and jostle for position on the feeder hanging in space over the woodshed driveway.
This is also the same door that has enthralled our many cats over the years. Right now we only have one, Obi, who sits in front of (behind) the glass portal for endless moments, his tail lashing as he too, watches these birds, albeit with a much different view of the world. He sometimes becomes so excited watching cat TV that he starts to do a stutter meow, sounding like a teenager whose voice is cracking.
The neighbour dog, a Kommondor, comes visiting on a regular basis. He stands at the door, his nose pushed into the glass, trying to peer inside. If he sees no one, he knocks at the door with his big paw, making a scratching noise, alerting all who are at computer screens that he is here and wants his buddy, our equally large dog, to come out to play. The early morning sun backlights the squishy gray marks his nose leaves quite brightly, to show just how many times he has been here this week.
Our dog Chilko is no different. Although he doesn’t press his nose into the glass as much, he does the scratching thing, letting us know that he needs attention. If we don’t hear him, Obi does and then he comes and gets us giving his special meow to let us know his canine buddy is at the door.
Not to be outdone, Obi will sit at the back (front) of the door for long periods, waiting for someone to come along and let him back into the house. This is especially needed when there is snow on the ground an he is loath to tread through it, down the hill and into the woodshed to his cat door.
While simply a passive cedar door, whose full length and width is fitted with a single double paned window, this door has a dark side. Every so often, especially in the morning, we will hear a dull ‘whump’, the kind of sound you hear when a snowball bounces off a cardboard box. If we hear this sickening sound, both of us plus Obi (who has learned what this sound means) rush to the door where we look out onto the deck to survey the damage.
Sometimes it is a junco, sometimes a Redwing blackbird or, like last week a Varied thrush. This was a shame because this was the first year we have had them, and we only had three. Two of them now have met the fate of the Door.
Sometimes, after flying into the glass at full speed, these birds lay stunned, still breathing, on the brown deck boards. These we put up on the top of the planters, to let them revive. Sometimes they lie there for up to an hour, but then recover and fly away. Other times, as with the two Varied thrushes, things did not work out. They both broke their necks and died instantly.
This is very sad, we have tried many things, putting up plastic cobwebs and so on, but unless we block the glass completely, this occasional accident will happen.
This year we have had three deaths, we hope that will be all. Once here for a while, the birds seem to figure it out, and for some strange reason, we have never had a Grey jay make that mistake.
So, every spring, we live through a period when our killer door takes its toll. In the end, the benefits of cat TV far outweigh the occasional fatality. At the same time, we continue to search for ways to watch wild TV on door channel one and make it safe at the same time.