Quite a few weeks ago when the weather was hot (kinda like yesterday but definitely not today when I put the heating on and am only just contemplating taking Bud out as it’s been wet all day) Buddy and I were out on our walk.
I readily admit bird identification (certainly feathered ones) is not my forte but previously I had seen a brightly coloured bird flitting across the path we take and on this day I saw another one. There it was just sitting at the side of the lane about a foot and a half from being hidden under the hedge. Now I know enough about birds that if you find one a young one seemingly stranded you should generally leave well alone and, after having an experience with a young pheasant several weeks before, this is exactly what I did.
Bud has a thing about chasing pheasants as they flee from us making that funny pheasant noise. He doesn’t bother about ducks and isn’t offended by their quacking and has walked past partridges but let him see a pheasant fleeing the3 scene and there’s no distracting him from his task. On the day of the young pheasant incident we rounded the corner of our road and there it was sitting on the pavement as clear as day. When it made no attempt to move as we walked past, despite Bud straining at the lead and whining, I assumed it was injured so I popped Bud into the garage and went back for another gander – okay it would have been funnier if we were talking geese.
There it was strutting along the pavement in a completely uninjured manner and as soon as it saw me it sat down again. The penny dropped, me being smarter than the average pheasant, although that’s not saying much as they on average seem to be dumber than plants, it was hiding when it sat down despite there being no vegetation to shield it from view. I left it alone and when I checked a minute later it had disappeared properly.
So back to the tiny brightly colour bird. When we approached the spot again about 20 minutes later Bud apparently walked along a course that took him right over where the bird had been so I thought it must have flown off. However as I got closer there it was – Bud had obliviously walked right over the bird somehow managing not to give it an inadvertent kick.
It had dawned on me, since there are sometimes magpies nearby, that the best place for the little bird was under the hedge so it could at least be hidden from aerial predators – apparently we have a buzzard locally too – again I can’t confirm or deny this it took me years to spot the woodpecker the neighbours kept mentioning.
I approached it from behind and as I reached out with my hands to scoop it up I noticed something under it’s eye near its neck – it was a spot of blood. Since I’d been severely neutropenic the week before I thought bare hands weren’t such a good idea – and indeed may not have been without the blood being visible.
I rooted a poop scoop bag out of my pocket, arranged it so that it covered sufficient area of my hands, bent down slowly and leaned forward slightly, all whilst holding my breath, to carry out my good deed for the day and provide this tiny little creature with a better chance of survival and as I reached out with my hands and was mere two inches away… the little bugger flew off!