Saturday, 5 July 2014

The power of parental attachment in the bird world

Lucky to be alive - the thrush fledgling
Do you ever get the feeling, when you're busy speaking to someone, that they're not quite focusing on what you're saying? Well, I had that distinct feeling yesterday evening when I was speaking to HunterGatherer upon his return from another long day at work in the farm workshop. As I prattled on, HG was gazing intently out the sitting-room window at the sheep paddock and then, before you could say "woolly jumpers", he was out the patio doors over the fence, flapping his arms and running through the long grass after something.

My first instinct was that he'd completely lost the plot; however, when I saw him then stoop down and scoop up a bird in his hands, I realised that there had indeed been method in his madness. His eagle eye  well honed from years of employment as a deer stalker on estates in the west coast of Scotland  had spotted a big black crow carrying off a baby thrush in its talons.
The bird-catcher
He'd been alerted to the incident because he'd seen Mummy and Daddy Thrush frantically pursuing the crow (which was easily twice their size) to and fro across the paddock, and then spotted that the crow was not empty-clawed.

Miraculously, the fledgling bird survived its ordeal. HG placed it in a clump of grass in the garden, from where it cheeped pathetically to its parents – who were still flying bravely at the, by now, extremely hacked-off crow, to deter it from returning for its intended Saturday evening supper. 

The hunter-turned-bird-protector waited until he saw his new feathered friend flutter off back into the bushes and then returned to the sitting-room in search of his own Saturday night supper: steak and new potatoes served with home-grown broccoli and cauliflower from the Sparrowholding polytunnel. I suspect he fared rather better than his adversary, the crow...


  1. Thanks - I shall indeed pass on your appreciation, as I'm not sure the thrush remembered to thank him! :-)