Living on the wild side: Verb’s fauna of cats, pigeons, and such


An intrepid and resourceful hummingbird took up “childrearing” on the coaxial cable of a security camera in the 200 Corridor in spring, 2018.  – Image by John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei Online News Source



by Joshua Papaqui and George Rosales, Staff Writers and John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei Online News Source

One may see them walking around the campus, under the cars, by the bushes – they are  everywhere.  Around every corner at Verbum Dei High School, one may encounter a
furry little creature scurrying about and then vanishing into the foliage of the nearest planter. These residents are the families of cats that have made themselves home here at the Verb. These furry creatures, drawn by the food that students leave behind after lunch and breakfast, are now a consistent part of the campus environment.

“I really like the cats around,” said senior Clifton Dutton.  “They don’t get on my nerves or anything, but there are a lot of them though.”

The cats do not harm anyone on the campus; however, concerns are raised if they become too numerous. The feral felines may offer the campus at least two benefits: reducing the possibilities of rats or mice taking up residence around the campus and cleaning up pieces of food left behind by slovenly students.

“The cats have been here since my freshman year although they were kittens at the time,” senior Santiago Ramirez said.

Predating the cat’s arrival, some veteran Verbum Dei staff members may remember the
pigeon problem that the campus experienced in years past.   Sources reveal that pigeons
had been around campus in the middle 2000s, and a dozen pigeons might be encountered about the property.   One may wonder where they went; did the school do something rash?

“For a couple of my early years in Room 103, the mating hijinks of the pigeons provided an unusual ‘soundtrack’ for quiet periods of in-class writings,” said John Stradley, a longtime  Verb English teacher.  “Now, actual bird sounds in the classroom are rare, but an occasional student ornithologist will attempt to mimic the familiar coo of ratus airbornus.”

It was not uncommon before I took over that space for birds to enter Computer Lab 2 through the unscreened windows which are covered by the decorative block on the building’s exterior, said Stradley, who once held his freshman Writing and English II class in that space.  “Evidence” of their overnight stays from  days of yore remains on the room’s air-conditioning ducts to this day.

Steps taken by the school likely contributed to the birds’  “mysterious” disappearance.  Efforts were taken to discourage the birds from nesting in protected places under the building eaves and covered corridors.  This involved the strategic installation of bird or pigeon “spikes” at select locations.  The non-lethal spiky contraptions deter birds from roosting, mating, and nesting where they are unwelcomed.

Whether a cooing or humming bird or a feral feline, creatures have been and are a part of Verb’s nature.

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