Wednesday 31 May 2017


Firstly I have to say I'm not an ornithologist and my interest in our feathered friends hasn't stretched much beyond saying "Ooooh that's pretty" when viewing a particularly attractive budgie.

My story starts a week last Thursday when I could hear our cat "Angel" wailing out on the back garden that morning. She was with a small dead bird. Now our cat is odd in the fact that she has never hurt or even bothered another creature so I was sure she hadn't killed this poor unfortunate creature. An hour or so later she was wailing again. This time she was stood in the long grass (I hadn't mown for a while). This time with Morticia we slowly approached and as we did we thought there was another small bird, a baby. This time it was alive, barely - cold and wet but still breathing. We scooped it up and put it in a small box with the intention of taking it to a vet. We noticed a couple of larger birds circling our garden, chirping loudly. Was this out young friend's parents? We decided to put out young bird (who'd picked up from being warmer and drier) on the flat roof of our shed to give the parents a chance to find it's baby.

Goldfinch chick

We discovered that what we were dealing with were Goldfinches and as we left the baby on the roof with some food and water we backed away and watched. The parents, cautiously at first came down to the baby. They fed it and kept coming to it, all was looking good. We had an appointment to keep so we left them to it.

Parent Goldfinch feeding the baby
On our return we saw the baby was still there, looking stronger and still being fed and visited by its parents. It then started to get active and with encouragement from a parent had a go at flying. Unfortunately it wasn't quite ready and it's flight was a short one. I went out and scooped it up and placed it back on the shed roof. Night was approaching and to was raining, we were concerned that this baby bird wouldn't survive the night. Rags had a small bird box in her room from a craft thingy she once made. It was too small for our feathered friend so we removed the roof, placed it on it's side, put some shredded paper inside and placed it next to the baby. Soon after the baby had gotten inside and was protected from the elements. Then something unexpected happened, a parent came down and nested with the baby. We went to bed confident that we'd given the young bird the best chance.

Parent Goldfinches
The next day I checked on our little friend, he was comfortable inside the box although his parent had left (presumably to find food). It was a little later I heard Angel making that whining sound again. I when out and saw she was with the baby bird in the long grass again. Had it tried another unsuccessful flight? I scooped it up and took it to the bird box. Wait! What was this? The bird was still inside, this was a different chick. I put it next to the opening of the box and left it with presumably its sibling. I checked on it later and they were both huddled inside the box with the parents still visiting with food.

The weather improved that day and by late afternoon our little visitors had literally flown the nest. We saw them that evening flying to the trees across the road with their parents. Hopefully we gave the little ones a chance. We hear them from time to time, they must have a nest close by, Morticia thinks that they sing to thank us for helping their babies.

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