Waifs and Strays

August is an interesting month. Having been spinning in a post-referendum maelstrom, the Olympics (and a new football season) have provided a welcome distraction from the what-ifs, maybes and surely nots.

Eggardon cow
Eggardon Hill – late summer or early autumn?

Meanwhile, despite some decent temperatures and plenty of sunshine, there is a definite drift toward summer’s end. Heavy dews and a nip to the morning air, grasshoppers singing and brambles bruising.

Some of our birds are making the most of the dry weather though, and while there is an ever increasing trickle south, some swallows and martins are tending to second broods. One or two pairs may have embarked on a third.

Bullfinches will often attempt a second brood and might be feeding chicks at the nest well into August.

This youngster flew into a

bullfinch juv
Juvenile bullfinch

window and seemed a bit dazed, and judging by it’s complete lack of fear (simply opening its mouth whenever I moved as if expecting food) he/she was freshly fledged and still dependent.

After a few minutes recovery, the bullfinch flew off strongly, but some birds take a little longer to recover from a bang on the head.

Last week, a juvenile green woodpecker flew into the same window, and he/she clearly wasn’t right. I left it on its own for a few hours and then fed it (via a teaspoon) with an ‘ant soup’.

It responded fairly well, but did seem rather too content to be fed. After a couple of beak-fulls it sat quite happily on my knee waiting for the next. I

Green Woodpecker Juve
Juvenile green woodpecker

was wary that it might lose its fear of people (and also felt guilty for the ants) and so released it back up in the copse where it had originally flown from.

The following day I had a knock on the door from a neighbour who lives further down in the village. The woodpecker had turned up in her garden and was again looking off colour.

I gave it some water and then phoned around for some advice. A search online found a Wildlife Rescue Centre in Weymouth, so I arranged to take the woodpecker to them. The lady there was brilliant, and suggested that the bird was concussed and that it might take a week or more to recover.

Hopefully, if he does perk up then I will be able to pick him up this week and bring him back here to release. Fingers are tightly crossed.

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