Sunday, September 4, 2011

Animal Anecdote 52

Animal Anecdote 52

There are many minor bird experiences that come to mind. One concerns juvenile birds found by well meaning people who bring the youngsters in for advice as to how to care for an unfortunate orphan. When observed it is sometimes possible to return it to its nest and when possible that is best. Usually the youngster is a day or so from flying a little and should be left for the parents to care for as they usually will. What if a cat gets it is a frequent question and it is still best to leave it to the birds’ parents as hand feeding can be a chore. Robins and worms are easy but seed eaters must be fed special seed and then there are the fly catchers. Leave them to their parents and set up a cat watch for a day or two when the little one will fly away.

A mallard drake was presented with a target arrow that had disabled the duck. The arrow had penetrated the duck at the back of its neck and was equal distant protruding from each side. The duck appeared normal in every other appearance. It had been presented by a parent with the archer-son. The bird could not raise its wings to take flight. It seemed strange that the arrow had come to rest exactly half way thru the back of the bird’s neck. I slowly withdrew the arrow under the close watch of the boy, the father and the duck and took it outside where the bird took flight and away it went with no obvious problem.

Every wild bird when studied close up is a thing of beauty but nature has some species more beautiful than others. Unlike the human condition in birds the male of the species is endowed with more contrasting beauty than the females so when a Kestrel that was almost too weak to stand was presented for me to, “do whatever you want with it” I put what in those days was called the Sparrow Hawk in a special heated ward for observation. It seemed to liven up and I elected to offer it a thawed out dead mouse from my freezer. (Snake food) The bird came to life and attacked the food as if it was hungry and the little bird devoured it and two more in short order. Over the next three days it seemed that the beautiful bird had a bottomless stomach.

I should add that the time was a cold spell in mid winter and the bird had not found available food to survive. I recall that diminutive hawk flying away, turning back and landing high in a tree not far from the release point and seemingly to stare at me below. Then after a minute it flew away. My memory of that incident of that magnificent bird lives on in my memory.

An emergency also in a cold spell concerned a Sunday morning with a gathering of children playing on a sun porch that has been weather proofed by double glass panels. Suddenly a crash with glass scattering and a bird lying seemingly dead before the children. Like any concerned father one gathered up the bird in a shoe box and with the carload of children came rushing in with the emergency. I raised the top of the box slightly, looking in and saw a birds eye looking out at me. Taking the box and the entourage of children outside we all watched the partridge fly away as if nothing had happened.

Next time who faints and when?

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