Jun. 2nd, 2006 12:35 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)

The garden's full of birds in contrast with yesterday when the hens had it entirely to their very wet selves.

Today the sparrows are back--including, I hope, the one that brained itself on the mirror yesterday, but then successfully flew away. There's also a juvenile blackbird. He (I assume it's he since the flight feather are glossy black, not brown) has a speckled, dark brown hood, a very downy front, but adult wing and tail feathers, a real mixture. He's not quite got the hopping up onto the edges of low fences and plant pots yet. He hops up, misses and falls over. Then he hoops off to find mum, who's also hopping around the garden.

There's only one hen visible--Jack with her stunning green-tinged beetle-black back and cute red-gold jabot. Fred, presumably, has retreated into the coop for a little lay. The total eggs for the last (part) month is 10 in 14 days. All Fred's doing.

muninnhuginn: (feather)

So no chance of ruining my eyesight staring at the lunar eclipse.

Still, we did see a heron flying riverwards this morning (right over the field where I thought I saw one standing a couple of weeks ago); I'll know to look out in the mornings, now, since they do tend to have very regular habits.

I'd watch one from the bus stop on my way to school. After the mine closed and Black Beck stopped flowing the red of a tin of Heinz cream of tomato soup, the heron took to fishing every morning just above upstream of bridge where Black Beck and Kirk Beck meet. The passing traffic and the noise of the crowd of kids at the bus stop across the way didn't seem to be a disturbance (the ducks always seemed oblivious too): the heron would stand motionless surrounded by its own ball of silence. Stasis. Tension. Then the single jab with the beak.

The flight of the heron into the village in the morning, and the flight of another I watched regularly across the back field in the evening (just before the barn owl flew by), was such a contrast to this archer-like tension and release. It was all lazy flapping with broad wings, curved ends drooping slightly, the subtle knife of its breastbone slipping through the air.

Well, Bluebeard seems to stimulate the brain. Didn't like it when I opened the bottle: too much violet (which just isn't a smell I particularly like) but after an hour I'm still surrounded by white musk (an old, old favourite, which I used to wear continuously as a single note) and vetiver. Very little lavender, except when I rub my wrists together--when a tiny bit of violet returns too, but not unpleasantly.


Jun. 19th, 2005 11:12 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)

I know this is typically perverse, but it's been unusually quiet up in the loft today. Should I have fed little starling yesterday before we replaced it in the nest? (It didn't seem in any worse condition than the previous two occasions, not desperately dehydrated and apparently uninjured.) Should we have put it back at all? Was handling it going to cause its mother to cease feeding it?

Even if it's OK now, it has inevitably suffered more stress than it ought, at the time when its feathers are forming. Stressed bird equals weak feathers: not a good start in life.

Hah! Can't win. And I really don't want another pet. It had to go back... or elsewhere.

muninnhuginn: (Default)

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I hope to hear no famished cheep
Calling to me when I wake:
Greedy starling give me a break!

muninnhuginn: (Default)

... about believing the female inhabitants of the household holds true. Looby Loo announced this morning that she could hear a little bird.

"No!" we cried. "You can hear it in its nest in the loft."

Little was stationed outside the door to the airing cupboard.

M opened the door and found our number three visitor.

It looked very familiar. M hasn't found any other birdlets in or near the nest, so we decided that we've had one visiting starling three times and not triplets dropping in.

With very little time before the taxi arrived to take M to Heathrow, we didn't feed it and popped it back in its nest and tried, for the third time, to ensure there was no way it could drop down again. (We have problems if it does. The loft's not boarded, the rafters are dodgy, and the nest's in the part of the roof over the stairwell--a long way to fall. As a matter of course, M never goes into the loft if there's no other adult in the house. I don't go into the loft at all. So, if little starling pays us another visit, I have to deal with it, one way or another, on my own.) It's an adventurous little bugger: M said it was halfway down the side of the nest in the time it took him to move some boxes around to build a barricade between nest and covered over hole.

I approach the bathroom with trepidation, fearing the sounds of "feed me! feed me!" from the airing cupboard.

muninnhuginn: (Default)

... Bird! Fed, watered, put back in nest.

muninnhuginn: (Default)

It's a starling. It fell down the hole in the roof this morning. Little sat outside the airing cupboard and told me as much. So, it being morning, I decided it was M's turn to check. Bad move: M can't find things right in front of his eyes--including little starlings. It went quiet and Little left her watch post for a bit. She went back half an hour ago when the noise resumed, louder. The racket was too loud to be coming from the loft.

With not a little trepidation--small birds in a confined space get me the way moths do (unlike large fierce birds)--I locked Little out of the bathroom and opened the airing cupboard door. Hidden in the warm spot beside the heating pipes behind the pack of bog rolls was a little hatchling. Easily spotted since it immediately opened its mouth and screeched for food. Mainly down covered but with the spikes of its flight feathers showing through. I wrapped it in a flannel, dumped it in a box and covered the box with another box. Little accompanied me downstairs and watched.

I shut the curtains and the little one piped down. What to do in such a situation?

  1. Ring M and explain that he was wrong and Little was right (which is pretty normal: Little, like all the women in the household, is always right). M offers to come home and put it back in its nest.
  2. Google.
  3. Get out a pouch of feline urinary cat food and feed several bits into small bird with huge maw. (At one point it tried to swallow the teaspoon and swung aloft until I persuaded it not to.)
  4. Line box with newspaper to keep it warm and comfy.
  5. Google some more.
  6. M came back, blocked hole (down which nothing but bird has fallen for a year now, so complete collapse of end wall not as imminent as I'd originally feared), deposited bird (just fed for the third time!) into nest.
I was vaguely tempted to keep the thing, acquire a cage and have a new and interesting pet, but they can live up to 22 years (cat plus commitment) and need lots of company and stimulation. Giving it back seemed a better move. M thinks mum was waiting in the eaves and there was a lot of starling chatter outside too. So there's family waiting for it.

I did consider the other option, killing it outright, but it was uninjured, seemingly not badly dehydrated, and working very hard at surviving. I hope it does. Bearing in mind their potential longevity, the same birds may have been in residence here longer than us. The nest, apparently, is a conical edifice several feet high. So there's been a lot of effort put into it.

Annoyingly, with my thoughts far more on avian welfare and removing bird from curious cat, I failed to take any pictures.


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