This little Fledgling is learning the ropes in our yard. He's so tiny and vulnerable, but mom and dad are doing a great job keeping tabs on him, getting him fed, and doing everything in their power to see that he grows up. This is the second year in a row that we've gotten to see their Fledgling. They have a nest in one of the trees in our yard, then the baby moves to the ground.
Tonight, one of the parents was chirping incessantly. At first, I was drowning it out. After five minutes straight, I stopped to listen - and I heard panic in that chirp. As soon as it registered that the baby might be in trouble, I rushed outside to find out what I could do to help.
Our neighbor has indoor/outdoor cats. Great for the cats. Not good at all for our wildlife. More than once I have startled them and they've dropped a bird from their mouths before escaping back into the neighbor's yard. Tonight, I walked out to find one parked in our yard at the foot of the tree I last saw the fledgling hiding behind. I opened the door and let our dog out immediately. While Lily would never hurt a cat, the sight of her is enough to scare them out of our yard (probably why the birds continue to choose our yard).
I've been on guard for the last two hours. While I believe that nature has to take it's course, outdoor cats are not part of nature. Our cats remain indoors so that they are not a threat to this Fledgling (or other birds). I'm not a fan of "outdoor" cats - I can't have a birdbath because it draws the neighbor cat which endangers the birds. They leave us lovely little smelly presents in the yard. I clean up after my cats. I shouldn't have to clean up after yours.
And a Fledgling shouldn't have to worry about them. They have enough threats without adding someone's cat.