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Greenfinch with a headache

Tuesday 23 June 2009

It’s not often we get to handle a wild creature, but yesterday i did. She was beautiful, vulnerable, and about as long as my thumb. And she felt like dragline gossamer.

As i was gazing out at the white rose bush that has just come into bloom (no pix of that since it’s a bit buried by yew at the moment), something swooped off the fence STRAIGHT AT ME (so it seemed) and went thunk. It was so sudden, i ducked.

And there was a hen greenfinch beak-down on the patio, panting a little (wouldn’t you?), having left a couple of feathers stuck to the glass. As she panted her whole body gently lifted and sank, tail and wings rigid, with no voluntary motion. Pitiful. But clearly she was still alive.

UPDATE Sorry if updating makes this post appear twice in your feedreader, but the position needs clarification. Here with no attempt at scale is a diagram showing how she was stuck. It’s not detailed, but it does capture the indignity.

This happens occasionally, something to do with the trees’ reflection confusing the poor things, though they seem to be doing it less than they were a few years ago – possibly the stupid ones are being evolutioned out? Anyway, most of the birds that fly into our windows either die immediately or recover quickly.

By the time i got out there (with, of course, instructions to Catdog not to follow) she was breathing less perceptibly. Birds don’t cope well with shock. But just in case, i lifted her under the shrub that’s in the corner (methinx it’s Hebe pinguifolia but don’t take my word for it) and left a small scoopful of birdseed just in front of her beak. The thinking was that predators and chill would be less likely to find her, and she may feel like some sustenance when she came to.

Here’s the best pic i could get, given the awkward angle. Conscious, by human standards – meaning her eyes were open. But not exactly compos mentis when i took this.

And a little while later – nearly an hour, iirc – my eye caught a movement upwards from that corner and there she was on the fence again. At least, someone was silhouetted there, and it was the right size. And the space beneath the probably-Hebe was vacated. Encouraging.

I do hope she didn’t get going while still in too much of a daze, and fly into a car or a cat. But it’s nice to feel she had a quiet place to think about whether she was ready to re-enter the fray. Life is hard work for finches.

Btw, don’t think i spend all my hours gazing at the roses.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday 24 June 2009 5.25 pm

    P.S Just realized that I think you left the comment on this blog (not my land&lit) one …

    • Wednesday 24 June 2009 5.26 pm

      3rd time lucky!

      • Thursday 25 June 2009 11.28 am

        Got it! lol

        She was indeed beautiful, and it always feels such a privilege to be ‘involved’ however slightly.

  2. Wednesday 24 June 2009 5.24 pm

    I hope she was just a little dazed and is now over the shock. Lovely photo. Thank you for your message on my blog: I am very grateful.

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