Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bird in the fire...

Scurry and scuttle. Tap, tap, tap.

What on earth is that? I do hope the blasted mice haven't got into this room too....
 'It' turns out to be a starling in the stove. It's come down the woodburner's narrow flue, clearing the elbow, to land in the ashes and now sits looking out through the glass window. Its dagger-beak gives a futile peck now and then; 'let me out, let me out' it taps in birdish Morse code.

(Bird lovers will be pleased to note that fortunately it has been a week since this fire was last lit so our prisoner didn't add 'burnt' to its problems.)

We had anticipated something of a dusty adventure when we opened the door to let it out - with wood ash flying everywhere. In the end our sheets and sack were unnecessary; the bird flew quickly to the windows in its desperation to get outdoors. I scooped it up sharpish and held it firmly.

I think we tend to dismiss starlings as rather uninteresting dull birds - but, up close, how wonderful they are. Sharp of beak and beady eyed, fantastic iridescent plumage - just look at the colours and how they catch the light:


It was a feisty and spirited thing too; squawking and pecking as I carried it to the door and freedom. Its little heart pounded - why was I surprised to find its body so warm and rounded?

I opened my hand and it was away - no looking back of course. Skyward like a missile, up into the trees - to have a quiet few minutes thinking about its ordeal no doubt.

I remembered afterwards that I should have read it the riot act about Not Eating My Hen Food Or Else. There's an opportunity wasted then....

16 comments:

her at home said...

we havevast flocks of starling who come each year to roost in our bamboo. Noisy smelly and veyr entertaining...and yes terribly beautiful plummage too.

Frances said...

I do love happy endings! Glad that curious birdie did get its freedom back. Glad also that we got that fabulous close up view of its plummage.

Cheers!

Mrs Jones said...

I'm rather fond of starlings - I liken them to the cockney barrow boys of the bird world, all "oi! oi! oi!", thumbs-behind-braces, elbows out, barging their way onto the bird table. Black beady eyes and sharp pointy beak, you wouldn't want to pick a fight with them if you were, for e.g., a blue tit or summink.

Fennie said...

Yes they are beautiful birds. And also great mimics, sitting on the rook of the house making mobile phone noises. For a long time we had a family that nested in our eves and recently another family that discovered another whole in the sofits through which they could enter and then as this was near the tip of the cavity wall pecked out a large quantity of cavity wall insulation.

Preseli Mags said...

I'm glad the fire was not lit! What a pretty bird he turned out to be. Superb fliers too. It reminds me of the time a jackdaw fell down our chimney into an open fireplace. Huge mess and lots of bird-shaped patterns on the windows. While B was catching Mr Jackdaw, Mrs Jackdaw fell down too. B put Mr out and went back for Mrs, at which point Mr fell down the chimney for a second time. Two birds, one man lots of squawking and swearing - I went shopping and left them to it!

elizabethm said...

He was rather beautiful wasn't he? Glad to know you could set him free.

Nikki-ann said...

We get loads of starlings in our garden... none down the chimney though!

Pondside said...

Well, that ended well. We haven't had a bird down the chimney for years, and I remember covering everything with sheets and praying it didn't flap againstt the walls. I loved the close-up photos of the plumage - who knew it was so pretty?

rachel said...

You were both lucky there. I was feeding my absent neighbour's cats when I found a sooty pigeon in her sitting room, wide-eyed cats on the floor. Soot on ceiling, windows, curtain rails, sofas. And, as we know, pigeons are just poop-machines, so soot wasn't the worst memento.......

Angie said...

I think starlings have beautiful plumage ...love your shots of the feathers

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

He'd heard confused rumours about an "incubator from a far off land" and , thinking it was a bigger and better sort of hostess trolley , popped in for an hors d'oeuvre .
Fortunately he could leave without too much embarrassment .

Kirsty.a said...

Only a dedicated scrapbooker / blogger would have held onto that poor bird for long enough to get a macro shot of its wing!!

Cait O'Connor said...

A friend of mine wrote a poem about starlings recently and mentioned their coloured plumage. I'll try and dig it out.

Sallys Chateau said...

what a terrific close up of its plummage

mollygolver said...

Glad you managed to rescue the starling - but not half as glad as the poor little birdie. Gorgeous plummage

The Eyechild said...

Goog thing Wilson wasn't around, or it might have been a case of 'out of the fire and into the Bull-Terrier'.