The crow stares at me.
We don't speak the same language
So I just stare back.
-- by Lura Osgood,
Dear Gary: Do you think wild and domestic animals will help each other when distressed -- even the ones who eat each other?
Today my indoor Siamese-mix cat was acting very strange on the upstairs deck. I went out to see what was going on. There was a mama California quail racing frantically back and forth next to a grated water drain.
I went down and saw seven tiny chicks scrambling around trying to get out.
Thankfully, the neighborhood rallied together and we were able to rescue them. But I would never have looked outside if not for my cat lying in a funny pose with front legs forward in a way I had never seen before.
From the deck he often sees many birds and usually responds with that funky mouth chattering ... but not today when that quail was in distress.
Do you think he was trying to catch my attention -- or hoping to catch lunch?
Dear Cathi: I'll always remember a photo I saw many years ago ... of a terrified wild bobcat huddled on a tiny island in the middle of a creek with a wildfire raging all around it. Snuggled in between the bobcat's front legs was a domestic house cat, which would normally have been the bobcat's
Safety in numbers? Does that answer your question?
I suspect your Siamese-mix kitty was just acting unusual because it was bewildered by the strange actions of the mother quail, but who really knows?
Over the many years I've been in the animal "business," I've seen a lot curious things happen between wild, tame, or just different animals.
When I worked in wildlife rescue at Walnut Creek's Lindsay Wildlife Museum back in the 1970s, we sometimes used domestic animals to help us care for orphan wild babies.
I remember a mother hen with baby great horned owls tucked under her warm, comforting wings. And a domestic mama rabbit nursing wild baby fox squirrels.
My family dog, a wolf-shepherd mix named Angeline, helped me raise more orphan coyote cubs than I can count ... and a tiny Arctic wolf cub.
And best of all was when our old tomcat, John, decided to be father to a 4-week-old mountain lion. (When the lion was 9 months old and about 80 pounds, John the 10 pound kitty could raise one paw and send the mountain lion running. I always got the giggles when that happened.)
It's an interesting world out there, isn't it?
By the way, good for you, domestic human, for helping those distressed baby wild quail.
Dear Gary: I live in Palomares Hills complex in Castro Valley and when I went walking with a friend, we saw two peacocks strolling along.
When we got closer, they flew up on top of a fence. One of them actually even got on top of a roof.
I know we have wild turkeys here now, but peacocks? If my friend wasn't with me, I would have thought my medicine was playing tricks on me.
Has anyone else reported them in the area? Can they get together with turkeys?
Dear Catherine: There are a few "feral" peacocks here and there around the Bay Area. Escaped pets that have adapted to the wilds and produced a lot of chicks over the years.
I've never heard of them reported with turkeys.
Contact Gary Bogue at firstname.lastname@example.org; or write Gary, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA, 94596.