Monday, 19 February 2018

Buzzard Rescue


So, it's been a fairly normal weekend here at Countryside Tales: parkrun on Saturday, cross country race on Sunday morning, find an injured Buzzard on the road Sunday afternoon, pick her up, bring her home, make arrangements to take her to a local wildlife rescue centre then drive through the New Forest with a raptor on my lap.




She'd been hit by a car. It must have happened only moments before we came past because she was lying on the verge, wings open, looking stunned and afraid. There was a second buzzard a few feet away clutching something dead in its talons. My guess is they both went for the same prey item and, in the clash over possession of it, didn't see the car coming and she got hit.

It's a difficult decision, to know what to do with a wild creature that's been injured when you don't know how badly it's hurt. My preference is to move them out of immediate harm's way and leave them in their own environment, hoping that it's just shock and after a while they'll recover. It's an offence by law to remove wild animals from the wild. But when they're obviously badly injured I would never leave them on the side of a road to die. I've nursed crows, blackbirds, swallows, rabbits, deer and a baby Tawny Owl before (remember Bop two springs ago?). But I've never picked up a raptor.

I have enormous respect for the beaks and talons of raptors, having seen them in action (you may remember the Buzzard who came into the garden a summer or two ago and eviscerated a huge male rat, splitting in from throat to tail in one go. Impressive). They are perfectly adapted to gripping, squeezing, ripping and tearing. I'll admit, therefore, that I was a little bit worried about how we would go about picking her up and holding her, we had no towel or gloves with us. But in the end, my farmer's-son, country-boy husband, just bent down, scooped her up and gave her to me in one seamless movement. He ushered us to the car and managed to put the seatbelt around us both (meanwhile, dogs in the back, noisy with over-excitement at what was happening), then drove us the few minutes home. 



A quick phone call confirmed a local centre could help. When M came back outside to tell me this, the Buzzard, who'd been quiet as a mouse in my arms up until that point (once she'd settled into a more comfortable position), suddenly came to life: she opened her wings, squeezed the life out of my finger which she'd been holding gently up until that point, and opened her beak at him, warning him to stay away. 



He backed off and she settled down again. I got her wings carefully refolded, extricated my finger from her hold (experiencing no small amount of relief that it was still in one piece and looked like a finger, rather than the crushed bit of flesh I'd been half-expecting), then we got back in the car and drove over to the centre. 

For most of the forty minute journey she was quiet and sat still in my arms, but every now and then she'd look over at M who was driving and struggle to get away. The first time she did this she put her weight on her feet which had been resting on my leg. Have you ever had a buzzard squeeze your thigh before? No? Let me tell you those talons are mighty sharp. I have three small puncture wounds and a nice big bruise about 5cm wide to show for it, which says something about how big she was (fortunately, she was a yearling, so on the small size compared to some of them, but still big enough). I spent a good part of the rest of the journey worried (because it hurt, a lot) that she might have sliced through my femoral artery and kept trying to take surreptitious glances at my leg to check it wasn't awash with blood. I was quite relieved when we got home later and I could assess the damage as being non-fatal :o). M, when I told him this, grinned: don't be ridiculous, of course she wouldn't have pierced your artery. 




After 40 minutes, during which time (when I wasn't worried about bleeding to death), I was grinning to myself imagining the responses of the people in the cars we passed had they but known who was in the passenger seat, we arrived and met Mike at the gate of his beautiful forest cottage. He took down all our details and where we'd found her and in what condition, talked us through what would happen next (anti-inflammatories, fluids, a medical assessment), and we handed her over, giving him £20 towards her care.




I've just rung to see how she is, and she has a broken wing with an open wound. She's off to be X-rayed this morning to see how bad the damage is, but hopefully, it's treatable and she'll mend well enough to be released back out into the wild where we found her. Thank goodness for people like Mike, eh? And what a complete privilege to have been so close to such a magnificent wild creature. I'm keeping everything crossed for her.

CT.

38 comments:

  1. Not you average Monday blog post. Wow, what an experience and I’m totally in awe that you were able to rescue her. Glad not too much damage was inflicted both to you and the raptor:) Life in Jersey very dull in comparison, fogbound and quiet. Wonder what your next excitement will be? B x

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    1. Most years at least one lost or injured soul finds their way to us. Never had a buzzard before though! X

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  2. That is a very kind and brave thing to do.
    Well done you. x

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    1. So lucky we were in the right place at the right time x

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  3. A woman after my own heart. Well done you.
    I hope the buzzard recovers and goes back to where he belongs.

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  4. Wow! You are a very brave lady. Keeping everything crossed for your feathered friend. X

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    1. Brave or foolhardy 😆. Couldn’t leave her there x

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  5. Hey CT,
    A wonderful privilege indeed. I see buzzards wheeling overhead all the time. Or sat on posts looking regal. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to have one sat in your lap! I chuckled at the fact that she snuggled with you, and glared at your husband! Have you ever seen the Pixar film 'Up?' There's a bird in that whose behaviour reminded me of your buzzard.
    Keep us informed CT.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Will let you know how she gets on. Hopefully it’s mendable but you never know x

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  6. Thank goodness for people like you and M as well - not everyone would have driven that far for "just a bird". You do realise from all the comments that you will now have to supply regular updates :-)

    Was she heavy on your lap?

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    1. Not too heavy. I just kept pinching myself I had a buzzard in my arms 😆

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  7. Oh well done! You were absolutely the right person to find her and let's hope she will mend soon and go back to the wild. I am so glad to hear that your Femoral Artery stayed intact too!

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    1. Fingers crossed. Such a beautiful bird. Relieved about the artery too 😆 x

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  8. She is beautiful ! So glad you found her.
    Our Vultures,Turkey Vultures are not as pretty as yours. Very few Buzzards in the United States.
    Hope she will do well and be set free again.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Me too. Will know more tomorrow but at least we gave her a fighting chance x

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  9. So pleased it turned out well. I found a merlin some years ago in similar circumstances and sadly it was too badly injured and had to be put down.

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    1. I’ve never seen a Merlin before. Wonderful birds.

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  10. Whoa! Respect! What an experience for all concerned.

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    1. Absolutely. I look at the photos now and wonder why I wasn't more worried, holding her gloveless for an hour! Wonderful creatures.

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  11. Well done you, what a magnificent bird she is. Thank goodness indeed for people like Mike. And fingers crossed she'll recover and be able to return to her wild life. CJ xx

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    1. They take 3000 wild animals a year into the centre. Extraordinary. What amazing people x

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  12. Wow, that's amazing! Lucky bird that you rescued her and lucky you to have had such an incredible experience. She obviously started to trust you. So glad that your femoral artery is intact - now that would have seriously impaired your running! xx

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    1. Can you imagine? All that work rehabilitating the knee and finished off by an act of kindness to a Buzzard :o) Phew! x

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  13. Well done- I think that journey sounded very nerve-wracking!

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    1. It wasn't too bad once she'd settled down. She was very trusting and quiet with me. Beautiful bird.

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  14. Wow! What an amazing experience for you. Well done you and M. Hope she recovers and is released back into the wild. S xx

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    1. Me too, Sam. You just never know how bad the damage is. Will check up on her today and hope for good news x

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  15. WOW, well done you, it's all to easy to walk past an injured animal/bird.

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    1. Not something I've ever done, but I've grown up nursing wildlife so it's second nature really.

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  16. You are both brilliant! Well done! What a fab story!
    Lovely 😊 and I love your purple jacket too xxx

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    1. Let's hope she'll be OK, but at least this way she has a fighting chance. Purple coat has been such a good investment this winter, I've lived in it :o) XX

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  17. Holy moly that's brave! And how funny that she related to you but didn't like her kind chauffeur. It must have been amazing to have her put her trust in you. xx

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    1. I guess I didn’t think too much about it, faced with the need to look after her. Such a beautiful bird xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x