This morning, Mei and I were recovering from a wedding celebration we attended by sleeping in late and cuddling with Patella. After awhile, Patella and I were ready to get up and Mei wanted to sleep in a bit longer, so I let Patella out and put some Eggo waffles in the toaster and wandered out to take out the trash. Usually when I’m out in the side yard, Patella runs over to investigate whatever it is I’m doing, but she didn’t come over. I went out to the garage to get some laundry switched out and still, no Patella. Once I had taken the laundry back inside, I poked my head out to take Patella on a walk and the yard was silent. Wandering out to the backyard, I found Patella, sniffing the lowest branch of our lilac tree, next to our pond with a pregnant Koi. As I got closer, I saw what she was waiting so patiently for, a little bird sitting on the branch. It was a cute little bird with long, white lips looking terrified. I corralled Patella back inside and went back out to take a picture but the bird was gone.
Thinking nothing of it, we went back inside and started our day. At some point, a few hours later, I seemed to have trouble getting Patella’s attention in the yard again, and caught her chasing the tiny bird across the lawn. She was trying really hard to be its friend and lick it to death – figures. She does this to cats too. Most sit still and take her love for a couple of minutes, then hiss and run away into a place or space that Patella can’t fit in or reach, which makes her crazy and a little sad. Anyways, I ran into the garage and found an empty, clear Tupperware storage bin and grabbed it and ran out to trap the bird under it. I got Patella out of the way just long enough to trap the bird then consider what to do next while I got Patella inside. I didn’t have any heavy-duty gloves (or at least any that I could find…), so I asked the neighbors to borrow a pair, but instead, they offered their help. So the three of us headed into the backyard, ready to put the bird in a larger cardboard box.
It took a little bit of chasing the bird across the yard, but we finally got it in the box and closed the lid so it couldn’t hop out. This was the first point at which I doubted how injured this bird could be. It was moving pretty well for possibly being injured… The neighbors headed back home after we finished staring in the box for a bit, and I got to work trying to figure out what to do next with it.
A quick Google search later turned up a link to the RSPB, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which had some advice on what to do with injured birds of prey you might come across, but nothing about any other wild birds. However, it did mention that you could take any injured bird or other animal to your local veterinarian and they could help take care of the animal and figure out where to go from there. So I figured I would take the bird to the vet in the morning unless I figured something else out in the meantime. Remembering that a good friend of mine spent time when she was younger working with rehabilitating injured wild birds, I called her for some advice. I took some pictures so she could see the bird and help me identify it and figure out what to do with it.
She had just found her own injured bird in her dryer vent earlier this year and discovered that it was a fledgling blackbird and she identified it to be one and the same! Turns out the bird wasnt injured. So we made plans to release it in the yard in a place that Patella couldn’t reach it and make sure it found its parents.
While we were waiting for our friend to call us back, I explored more of the links on the RSPB website and came across this gem of a page called “Birds Attacking Windows.” This immediately brought back memories of a movie called “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock that I watched when I was a sophomore in high school.
Confession: I went through an Alfred Hitchcock phase and watched almost all of his films.
The movie was like a vintage M. Night Shyamalan film or version of “The Happening”. It brought some points up to consider – like being more careful around animals. ALL animals, regardless of how much or how little I like them. At any rate, this is what the RSPB has to say about birds attacking windows:
This behaviour is particularly prominent during the breeding season, but can also happen at other times of the year, particularly by birds such as robins and grey wagtails who hold winter territories.
There is no apparent reason to what triggers an individual bird suddenly start this behaviour, and it cannot be predicted how intense it will be and how long it will go on for.
Although most birds engaging in this behaviour do not hurt themselves in the process, many people look for ways to stop it, either because they are concerned for the bird, or because it is an irritation to themselves.
The only way to stop this behaviour is to remove the trigger – the reflection. This means putting something such as cling film or non-reflective cellophane on the outside of the window.
Once the reflection has disappeared, the attacks should stop. Newspaper can also be used, but some birds tear it off thinking that the adversary is hiding behind the paper. Curtains made of strips of plastic that flutter in a breeze may also be effective.
Often birds habitually attack only a particular window, but sometimes different windows may be attacked in sequence depending on the position of the sun. The behaviour sequence can sometimes be broken if the first window in the sequence is treated.
How nuts. If this happens in the States, I can’t think of a singular source that would disclaim and address how to deal with this problem… but seriously with the newspaper? Maybe Alfred knew about this and based his movie on recent research about birds? How ironic.
Around and during the time we were dealing with our little birdie friend, Mei decided to take a decently longer nap and that was just the opportunity I needed to start prepping the bacon jam and frying the nearly 1- 1/2 lbs of bacon bits. I got everything chopped up and ready to go, checked on Mei – who was still sleeping, so I got to start actually cooking the bacon. I figured I could get it to the stage where it would sit and simmer away on the stove top for a couple hours before Mei woke up and I totally made it that far! In fact, Mei woke up for the last half hour of the cook time for the bacon jam – just far enough into the project that I couldn’t mess it up!
Our sudden inspiration to make bacon jam came from a request from my husband. I have two subscribers to my humble blog and one of my subscribers, Lauren, had posted about making bacon jam on her blog, All Things Simple, and while perusing her blog, we both agreed that bacon jam would be worth making. Due to its ability to be canned, I decided that I would make a batch up and mail it off to my husband, and since this week is our anniversary and also his birthday, what better to go into a care package for the occasion?
Lauren adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart, and we adjusted this a bit further. We even tried it on our Alaskan Salmon bagel melt for dinner and it was amazing! The best part was the ability to change the flavors to taste with the cayenne and salt. Since my husband likes things pretty hot, I’m including a little pot of cayenne so he can spice his up a bit more. I also put aside a bit for some friends to try and some to keep on hand for myself. This is incredibly versatile, a perfect jam to spread on a piece of toast or on a burger, omelet, sandwich, or anything your heart desires!
So back to the birds! My friend was able to help out and save us a trip to the vet, but it was too dark out for me to wait for the birds parents to show and release it, so we kept the birdie in a ventilated box in the laundry room by the back door and went to bed for the night with plans to release it in the morning.
Alfred Hitchcock released “The Birds” in 1963, a film about birds, increasingly in number and viciousness, attacking people in a town. A couple of months ago, one of my friends on Facebook shared a link on her wall about a group of scientists doing an experiment with crows – trying to determine if crows can remember human faces, and it seems they can! The story was published in the New York Times Science section, along with various online publications and other news sources and it would make you think twice about birds, including how often birds attacking windows must occur in a country, that makes it so a society dedicated to the care of birds in a country the size of Washington State would have a page dedicated to it. You can read the story yourself here. How do you feel about birds now?
Well, if it freaks you out, just look below for the bacon jam. Making it is a perfect lazy day activity! We didn’t have to stand by the stove and stir too often, just checking on it every 15 minutes or so was enough. But be warned that you may go through this incredibly quickly! I gave a bit away that didn’t fit in the jar allotted for my husband, and now, there are requests for more bacon jam. I should charge.
- 1 -1/2 lb sliced bacon, cut crosswise into one inch pieces
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
- 5 garlic cloves, smashed & peeled
- 1/2 C cider vinegar
- 1/2 C packed, dark brown sugar
- 1/4 C pure maple syrup
- 3/4 C brewed coffee
- cayenne, pepper to taste
- salt, to taste
First, cook the bacon in a large cast iron pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is lightly browned (about twenty minutes). With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and place on paper towels to drain.
Pour out all but one tablespoon of bacon fat (save it for another use), add onions, garlic and cook until onions are translucent and add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee, bringing it to a boil. Stir the mixture occasion and scrap up the bacon bits from the bottom of the pan. After two minutes, add the bacon and stir to combine.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, uncovered for two hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning. If the jam seems to be cooking too fast (ie the liquid is reducing too quickly), add 1/4 C water now and again.
Toward the end of the two hours, taste the jam and see what flavors you need to add.
When the liquid is syrupy, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes and then transfer contents to a food processor and pulse three to four times until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a heat-resistant bowl and let the jam cool. refrigerate up to one month. Although, I bet it disappears long before that!