Today, while out re-planting some spring bulbs (something had dug or pulled them up – I suspect a blackbird) I noticed a small bird upside down on the ground. Initially, I thought it was dead, but on closer inspection realised it was still alive. I gently turned it upright and it sat for a few brief moments on my gloved finger. It was a goldfinch. It is so amazing to see tiny birds up close, the patterns and rich colouring of their feathers are so exquisite. I assumed the poor thing had crashed into one of our kitchen windows, a not irregular occurrence and one that has resulted in a few casualties over the years. The bird was obviously a bit traumatized. I looked for a safe and dry spot to place it, also hoping that I may get a chance to take a photograph before it flew off. I tried to encourage it from my finger onto the little gate post next to the house but instead it flew off and landed a short distance away on a rock.
I went to get the camera and managed to get a few reasonable photos. I did feel guilty taking it’s picture while it was obviously still distressed and my presence was probably not helping matters.
I checked on it a while later with the kids and it was still there. I like the kids getting a close view of any wildlife and was reminded of a quote from book I am currently reading called Field Notes from a Hidden City: An Urban Nature Diary by Ester Woolfson. In the book, she quotes the English philosopher John Locke from a treatise he wrote in 1692, “I think that people should be accustomed, from their cradles, to be tender to all sensible creatures, and to spoil or waste nothing at all.” While the City of Aberdeen is the urban backdrop to her book, Ms Woolfson examines our relationship with nature, particularly with some of animals that are ‘looked down upon’ by the majority of the human race like rats, slugs and pigeons.It’s a well written and engaging read and I would encourage anyone to read it.
I am glad to report that the goldfinch did later fly away. I hope it survives. Goldfinches, along with chaffinches and greenfinches are all regular visitors to our bird feeders in the winter, though their natural diet is grass and other seeds.