Bird, Bath and Beyond!

(Or how I learned that cleanliness is next to birdliness!)

One day last week, my person suggested that we go for a romp in Edgarton Park with dog, Ashley. I like to go for a romp but not necessarily with dog Ashley, however a romp in the park with or without a canine companion would give me a chance to take some photographs. In late spring, the park can be very pretty as the bushes and trees are usually filled with new leaves and flowers. So I packed up my camera and hopped into the back seat of the automobile and settled down to a short trip to the park with a very annoying dog.
Ashley constantly barks at every dog which we passed along the way, wagging her paws and tail, sqealing with delight when any of them acknowledged her flirtations. More than once I was crushed against the seat as the dog rushed the window, her tongue drooling with glee and anticipation. I recovered from the frequent assaults on my body but only because I was anticipating my forthcoming opportunity with my camera.
When we arrived at our destination, my person parked the automobile within a short walk of the entrance. Slowly, I made my way along the paths and trail and finally changed my direction toward the big fountain at the head of a big staircase leading up from the field below. The water was slowing pouring over the rim of the fountain and I held the camera to my eye when something flashed before me. To my surprise, I saw a large bird splashing about in the water! It was a blue jay!
Quickly I pointed my camera at the bird who was cavorting about with great abandon! What a sight! I took one picture after another, delighted with the bird's antics! Unfortunately, the bird was not delighted with my antics!
"Just what do you think you're doing, cat!?"
"Why I was just taking your picture," I purred. "You look really cute when you are taking a bath. Could you wash under your wings again? I'd like to get another photograph of that from a different angle."
The bird flew over to the rim of the fountain and landed not far from my nose. "What are you, dense or something?! A bath is a very personal ritual! It is a moment when a bird wants solitude and privacy. I don't want any creature watching me when I wash under my wings or tail feathers! I don't want anyone watching me clean my toe nails! Would you want someone watching you wash your private parts or chew off your overgrown toenails?"
"Why of course not!" I growled. "but I am a cat! Cats require privacy and respect when performing their daily baths."
"Really?" sneered the blue jay. "Why do you think it would be any different for us birds? Do you think we have no pride, no sense of self-respect, that we suffer from low self esteem, just because we are birds and don't wear fur?"
"No, no!!" I insisted. "It's not that! Have you ever seen a cat wash under his tail? His hind leg is wrapped around his head. He tries to keep from falling over backwards by balancing with his front paw. His other front paw tries to keep the hind leg pointed skyward while he licks away at his bottom. It is not a pretty sight, believe me! Cleaning one's ears requires another acrobatic feat. It's not for the timid!"
The bird shrugged his wings. "Yeah, well, I would like to see that. Do you happen to have a few photos of your unique dexterity in performing your daily toilette?"
"Absolutely not!" I howled. "If any cat or person came near me as I was so engrossed, I would smack them but good!"
"Just thought I'd ask......" chirped the Blue Jay. "By the way, my name is Melvin. Do cats have names?"
"Of course we cats have names!" I growled. "My name is Henri of Twin Brook."
Melvin tilted his feathered head. "I suppose you're very famous and every cat in the neighborhood knows your name?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "Something like that...." I purred. "I'm not exactly world famous but I am known for my photographic expertise."
"Uh huh," chirped the bird. "How about taking a few more shots of moi. You could e-mail them to me and I could put them up on my online album."

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