Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) - Henley-on-Thames, Oxon. 10th Oct 2008.

On Friday I received a call from my mum telling me that some close family friends had found what they believed to be a cage bird and were looking after it. I called Dorothy and she told me her husband Les had found the bird laying on the pavement in Station Road, Henley-on-Thames, after moving it and believing it to be dead Les took it home with him to avoid any cats getting hold of it or anybody treading on it. The bird slowly came round and started twitching and within a short time was sat on a table, it soon took flight and made itself at home in their kitchen. I asked what it looked like and Dorothy gave me a brief description of the bird over the phone and I was pretty sure that they may well have found a Goldcrest.

I finished work and made my way to Dorothy and Les's house in Henley, If the bird was alright it would be best to release it as soon as possible, I didn't want to wait till morning as birds can get stressed very easily and providing it was healthy the sooner we set it free the better. By the time I arrived the Goldcrest was perched on the fireplace before it flew down to a plant in the living room window, Les told me it was sat on his head before I arrived and after watching it fly to a number of picture frames, bookcases and other numerous items of living room furniture It was clear to see that it had no problems flying. It perched on a book giving me a good chance to look at it without handling it and it looked fine, no wing damage and no blood around the bill or head area. Given a clean bill of health I decided it would be best released before it got dark, as it was being released only a few hundred yards from where it was found I was sure it would be able to relocate itself. I used the tea towel method and gently put it over the Goldcrest, I was terrified that I would hurt this delicate and tiny bird and as I picked the tea towel up it was impossible to know if it was inside because it was so light. I did a quick Goldcrest call impression and felt the Goldcrest twitch under the towel so it was out in to the garden to let it fly. I put it down on the garden bench and we watched as it flew to a tree in the bottom of the garden, it took a quick look round to get it's bearings and then flew off.

I can only assume that the Goldcrest hit one of the office windows in Station Road and fell to the ground where it laid till Les picked it up, without his quick thinking god knows if it would have survived. Dorothy and Les, job well done.

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