By June 15, 2007

Porter and Rosie: Stone cold killers?

It first started about a month ago. Porter brought a stick up to the porch when I called to him. As normal, he dropped the stick before trotting inside the house, except it wasn’t a stick. It was a dead bird. No big deal, I thought, and scooped the bird in a doubled-up plastic bag. I may have mentioned it to Lady Jaye but we didn’t give the incident much attention. Fast forward to today. I picked up another dead bird, again dropped from Porter’s jaws. This brings our known casualty total to five or six in a month. I think we either have some sort of bird epidemic on our hands, or Porter and Rosie are waging a campaign of terror on the local avian population.

Before we begin, let me clarify a few things and set the stage. Rosie is about thirty five pounds. Porter has lost weight, but is still probably lower fifties/upper forties. Rosie is super fast, and Porter has good burst speed, but he’s no greyhound. Plus he doesn’t bend his knees when he runs. I can’t imagine either one of them running down a bird and killing it, let alone five or six of them. The dogs certainly don’t jump, although Porter and Rosie are about two and a half feet tall or so when they stand up on something. Porter can stand up like a bear indefinitely, but his coordination doesn’t seem good enough to actually, you know, snatch a bird mid-flight.

So what the hell is going on? At first Lady Jaye and I thought a bird was sick, or died in some less-fantastic fashion, and dropped to the ground. We also considered that a young bird was testing his wings and failed. But when the bodies starting piling up, I had no option but to consider that my two furry children were bird-killers. I really can’t imagine the dogs charging down a bird. However, I seem to recall from my hunting days that when ducks “set” their wings to coast in for a landing, they must land before flapping off again. Perhaps the mongrels are pouncing at this moment, giving them enough time to strike before the birds fly off again. Or maybe Porter distracts them while Rosie ambushes them from behind? Seems unlikely, but the idea of Rosie in a Ghillie suit is just too humorous to ignore.

To our knowledge, the body count and prey composition is thus:
1 blue jay
3 (perhaps) juvenile or female American Robins
1 or 2 “others,” it was too, uh, well-handled for identification. Possibly a juvenile sparrow, although the bird was taller than what I would consider a sparrow.

Not to put a super serious spin on this post, but I am worried about them picking up some disease from the birds (or bringing it to us). Both dogs have had decreased appetites last week, which has only returned to normal two days ago. Every time I fetch a “stick” from Porter I think, “if this was an H5N1 situation, we would be dead.” If we get the Avian Flu in the US, it looks like the dogs are going to be on attended leashes when we go outside.

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3 Comments on "Porter and Rosie: Stone cold killers?"

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  1. What about putting bells on their collars to give them -1 to sneaking?

  2. Stomper says:

    That’s an interesting idea. If they are sneaking up that will spoil their approach.

    I know you know this but some birds are nasty and will “harass” dogs/animals/people especially if they have nests in the area. Blue jays, grackles and crows come quickly to mind. If Porter and Rosie were harassed by birds for being too close to a nest they may be taking out their angst on any bird within striking distance.

    Another thought crossed my mind Doc, is there any window in the back that appears mirror like because of the way the light hits it? Could the birds be stunned from flying into a window (not killed), stunned just enought to be easy targets?

    Too bad you can’t spy on the backyard to find out what’s up.

  3. Ed says:

    Recording webcam is the only way!