We found a fledgling in the garden on Saturday afternoon. A starling, lying on his side, very still. He tried to escape when we approached, but it was fairly half-hearted. When he was in full sun we moved him gently into the shade. When there was still no sign of his parents and there was no shade left, we scooped him up into a box and took him indoors. Youngest spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting water and soggy bread into him. We did not expect him to last the night. There were tears.
On Sunday he ate little bits of hamburger and got stronger. He spread his wings, he stood up very briefly, he went round and round in circles on his side. And he chirped. But we did not expect him to last the night. She was braver.
A school day, so Husband and I spent the morning feeding him raw mince. We were rewarded by much more chirping. I rang a local animal sanctuary, the vet and the RSPCA. We now know we should have used mashed hardboiled egg and bread is not a good idea for young birds. According to the animal sanctuary the vet must look at wild animals for free. According to the vet you should call the RSPCA to get a log number so that they can be paid. And the RSPCA will log your creature and send you to the vet, but would like you to sign up as a member. I’m afraid I only promised a donation.
The vet himself was sympathetic and complimentary of the care given, but on closer inspection found that the ‘poor little chap’ had a claw wound in the side of his head. We thought he had fallen from a nest on the roof of our house, but it seems he had fledged but got caught by one of the local cats. The vet felt that he might live, but he could never be a self sufficient starling. A lethal injection was administered. A quiet death and he had had some comfort, not a brutal end alone. I don’t think a cat counts as a natural predator. I don’t like it when the sparrow hawks pinch a sparrow from under our noses, but I’m very excited to see them!
The garden is full of wildlife at the moment. There are birds everywhere. The nests we know about include the starlings, some blue tits in a nest box in the pyracantha and ‘our’ house martins are at home. Last week we were playing spot the frog, this weekend there were half a dozen in the pond. The tulips are over, but the lilac, irises and aquilegia are in full bloom and the roses are covered in buds. Life goes on.