I put an old lesson to good use today. A couple of years ago, the man who brought the big owls to the village fete said ‘If you see a stunned bird near a road, it’s probably been hit by a car and probably isn’t injured. Birds are surprisingly good at surviving car strikes. The problem is that they cool down very quickly and can die of hypothermia, so what you need to do is keep them warm until they’ve recovered.’ At around the same time, Melanie of Anthropomorphica reported doing just that for a greenfinch, so I decided he was probably right. (Melanie knows about these things, you see.)
Today I saw a little blue tit sitting on the ground at the bottom of my garden. Blue tits aren’t in the habit of staying still very long, and this one looked like he’d been on the wrong end of a sucker punch. Time to test the theory. I picked him up and cradled him in my hand, gripping firmly but not tightly. He didn’t struggle; he seemed quite content to rest under the covers and move his little head about.
After a few minutes I opened my hand to see whether he wanted to fly. He didn’t. He poo’d on my finger instead. (Thank you.) I waited some more, I talked to him, I stroked his head. He continued to stand on my finger. I began to get impatient (I was in the middle of a job, you know?)
‘Are you ready for the off yet?’
I continued to be patient; I might have even whistled. I thought of singing to him, but decided against it. Suddenly he was gone, off to the nearest hedge. Job done. Nice one.