Saturday, June 16

Spring Watch & wild bird

Interrupting the trip diary for a moment ........


There's been one of the very few TV programmes I've regularly watched in recent months - BBC's SpringWatch And inmy case any regular TV viewing is very rare, my preferance being more book, radio, music, Internet .... oh - and blog of course)

I had to laugh when I read that that Springwatch viewing eclipsed the much publicised (and in this household much loathed) Channel 4 Big Brother output.

I've come late to appreciate the rich variety of wild bird life, and their subtle hues and plumage.

Mainly this is as a result of a single birdfeeder hung in our oak tree a few years ago as a bit of an afterthought; Which has over the years, and with increasing attacks from those tree rats (aka squirrels), is now up to six feeders attracting a huge variety of winged visitors including a rare Greater Spotted Woodpecker family, a very shy bird indeed, and this year a pair of Red Legged Partridges

And mostly down to my wife, scarcely mentioned on this site, but whose interest through her personal observation of nature, has influenced me to 'stop and smell the flowers' a little more when out walking.

Our bird feeding includes live mealworms to help the new broods in the early spring, and that costs a fortune once the starlings cotton on to that particular food source.

But as a result we have a wide range of regular visitors with repeat nesting each year from down through the same lineage.

But there are casulties along the way. The large patio windows that look out onto the garden can also act as a mirror to the birds, and despite attaching a bird of prey silhoutte window strikes occasionally happen.

In some cases the bird dies instantly of a broken neck, but for those that don't and are too stunned to fly to safety we've established a recovery process to safeguard the casualty until its able to return to normal.

If the bird is grounded, and liable to be attacked by cat/squirrel it will be carefully picked up, and either put in a place of safety, or held quietly in the warmth of cupped hands. If the beak is open, a couple of drops of water are carefully fed to mitigate shock. Once the patient starts to become more alert i.e. looking around, the finger is provided as a perch until the bird flies up to its own safe perch off ground.

Of course, any handling of a wild bird is a last resort, done only as a temporary safeguard.

The same approach was used when we last had a colony of Pipistrelle bats whose young would fall from their roost and were unable to return immediately due to the heat and light of the summer day. In that case some extra body heat was also provided by my wife's cunning use of her T-shirt/bra - but no pictures of that on here. Well not yet anyway lol

So whilst I'm sat here typing up my trip notes, a bang on the window alerted us to another 999 call, and here, on a sunny but blustery Saturday afternoon, is the poor chap, recovering before safely flying back into the oak tree.

Another success.

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