So I was sitting here contemplating life when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye out the front window. Focusing on it, I spotted the cat who likes to leave us cat seeds standing stealthily on one of the stumps, looking up into a tree with a wicked stance. Hmmmm.
Focusing more, I could hear that something was chirping a loud and angry warning. I doubted that the cat could get high enough into the tree to cause any damage to whatever it was glaring at, but I never pass up an opportunity to scare the cat-seeder out of my yard. It's good for the cat's cardiovascular system.
I moved slowly to the front door... but I think I could've walked normally, the cat was so intent on the tree. I flung open the door and for an instant the cat was frozen in shock as it looked over to me, then *vwip!* it was down the stump and across the yard, tripping only once on the branches that the missionaries left it its way.
I grinned and stepped out onto the porch, and the cat stared at me from the street. Whatever was chirping was continuing to do so, so I stepped off the porch to see what it was. The cat raced away like demons were chasing it.
The chirping was not coming from the same tree that the cat had been looking at, so I tried to spot the mysterious chirper elsewhere. I wasn't terribly surprised to see a squirrel at full alert up in another tree, and when the next chirp came I confirmed it was coming from the little beastie by seeing its chest move. Definitely the culprit. But what had the cat been looking at?
I didn't spot it right away, but after looking at the tree the cat had been looking at for a moment I saw it clearly. A bird. And it seemed to be hanging off the side of the tree without any support. The neck was grey, head kind of black. The chest was white with black spots. I stepped into the yard to get a closer look, and was surprised when it didn't fly away. Injured? Or just scared? I looked up, and could see that the underside of the tailfeathers were red. And the beak was long and pointy. Maybe this is the woodpecker I've been hearing? It finally made a move to another branch and I could see it wasn't injured. Then it flew off. The squirrel stopped chirping.
Ah, the joys of living in the great Northwest.