Monday, 5 March 2018

The Third Rescue


The snow has more or less gone and life has returned to normal. L is back at college, M is back at work, the dogs and I enjoyed a peaceful hour walking round the fields this morning and now I have a pile of work to settle quietly to. Which is no bad thing as Pop and I ran 11.5 miles yesterday and I'm feeling it today, both in my muscles and my energy. We popped over to the Heath Robinson exhibition which is currently on at Mottisfont (brilliant and well worth visiting if you can) after the run, and half way round I was struck down with the most monumental, sudden and desperate hunger, so we high-tailed it to the tearooms where we refuelled on Victoria sponge and hot chocolate. It was just the job. Poppy is showing absolutely no signs of either tiredness or extra hunger today, but then she does have Super-Dog powers so I'm not really surprised (plus she had a special bone made of dried fish when we got back from the run which she wolfed down. Her version of vicky sponge).

They say things come in threes, right? And after the buzzard and the girl in the car we were all joking about me maybe staying indoors for a while. But rescues have a habit of seeking me out.

A few days ago, in the middle of the coldest and snowiest of the ice days, L and I were walking down the lane together when I noticed a redwing sitting in the stream.



Near her were two wrens, a grey wagtail and a snipe. The wrens and the wagtail live in and around the stream feeding off small invertebrates in the water, and the snipe, a passing visitor brought closer to people by the snows, is a water bird so these were all normal things to see in the stream. Redwing, however, (members of the thrush family who visit our shores for winter and fly back to their native Scandinavian homelands in springtime), are not water birds. We continued with our walk to see whether she would move but ten minutes later she was still there. I climbed down the bank into the stream. The snipe was long gone, they don't like being anywhere near people. The wagtail fluttered off and the two wrens hopped onto a low branch where they sat, watching me intently. The redwing didn't move. She didn't even move when I reached down to pick her up.

She was so cold and the water she'd been sitting in was freezing and I hoped it was just the cold and lack of food and that warmth would revive her, so I put her inside my coat and we walked home. When we got back and I could check her over properly I realised there was a wound on her back. I suspect it was a cat attack.




Not knowing how bad the injury was and aware of the amazing restorative powers of warmth to overcome shock, I decided I would sit with her on the sofa and read and see what happened. She seemed content to be snuggled between my coat and my shoulder and after a few minutes I thought she was rallying- she opened her eyes, hopped closer to me and then tucked her beak under her wing and slept.



But it wasn't enough. Whatever injury she had sustained was too great and she died a couple of hours after we found her. I know the majority of wildlife rescues don't end well. By the time a wild animal is sick enough to allow a human to get near it it's usually too poorly to recover. I know this- I've been doing this for years, yet I still mourn every single small soul that passes despite our best attempts to save it. Over the years we have had successes- a fledgling swallow when I was ten who survived to migrate in the autumn, joining all the others gathering on the telegraph wires before flying to Africa; a baby blackbird more recently who for a while would fly out of the nearest tree and come to me when I whistled for her; a nestling sparrow who survived against all the odds; Bop, the baby tawny owl who we found injured on the side of the road when he was a few weeks old and who came back here, a few months later, to successfully fledge out into the wild. It is these successes that make me continue, despite the fact that I know most of our attempts to help don't succeed.

So that's the third. I had a feeling there would be one.

Hope you're all well? I've a busy week ahead so may be back to one post a week without the excitement of the snow to keep me house bound!

CT.

22 comments:

  1. Poor little thing, at least it was warm and dry. It is so easy to walk past an injured animal/bird. I hope your aches subside soon.

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  2. At least it had a cosy, loved end, Better than the freezing stream. Hopefully things will get better for the birds now that the weather has perked up a little. Have a good week. B x

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  3. Well done for trying to help it, it's always worth a try. There were lots of redwings about over the snowy period here, driven closer to the buildings by the snow I think. Lovely to see them in the back garden foraging for juicy things under the leaves. All back to normal now though. Have a good week, I hope you get everything done. CJ xx

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  4. Poor little soul, thankyou for giving it a chance, I would be the same. xx

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  5. Poor wee mite...at least it died warm and surrounded by love x

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  6. How sad...but at least you gave the poor little soul some warmth and love during its last hours <3

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  7. awwww poor little one. At least she felt warm, loved and safe.

    cheers, parsnip

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  8. At least you know that her last few hours were hours of comfort, not hours of being frozen into the stream.

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  9. Another injured bird rescue? There's something of the Nightingale about you.

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  10. So sad, at least you tried and gave some comfort to her.
    Sarah x

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  11. aw, bless....what a lovely wee creature...and i think it was a happier thing to end her time on earth feeling warm and safe, rather than in a freezing stream, yes?

    but as you say, it never gets easier, even when you know the odds are stacked against them.

    hope all's well...i've been lax in my comments, but always pop my head in when i summon the motivation to turn on the computer. :)

    much love xoxoxo

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  12. You have a beautiful soul, looking out for creatures in need around you. I am sorry the little redwing didn't make it but I am glad it was warm and cosy in your jacket. x

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  13. Poor little thing. Better a warm, cosy, loving end than freezing in the stream. I saw a Fieldfare in our crabapple tree the other day; I only recognised it because of your wonderful blog. xx

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  14. Poor little thing. It's a wonder thst there arrn't mire casualties after that bitter spell. x

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  15. That's very sad, but at least you tried to help and probably made the last few hours much more comfortable for it.

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  16. Well, of course you mourn each and every small one. The capacity to care and make an effort is what makes good humans (as opposed to those who use chemical weapons and ....aggrrhh, stop now before you start ranting, girl ).

    You gave her a chance, that is more than most people would do {hug}. Echoing what Pat said - her last hours were safe and warm, not frozen in the stream.

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  17. I love Redwing. It is good you took her home to die quietly in a warm environment. It is people like you that keep me going. Thank you for your caring heart.

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  18. Poor little thing. So lovely that you tried and that he was warm and loved in his final hours. Bless you CT.
    xxxx

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  19. Warm sunshine is so precious for us. Have a nice weekend.

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  20. Little bird was able to slip away peacefully in her sleep? Warm and safe.

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  21. Good on you for trying, I do wildlife rescues too and I know exactly how you feel. I always think that at least I've made them warm and secure and allowed them to pass in peace and love. Love your blog! Ally

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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