The other day I was working/facebooking diligently at my desk when I heard the cat flap go twice followed by a mewling sound the cat only makes when she's caught something. Now Pip lays waste to the local rat and mouse population, but they are plentiful around here so we turn a blind eye to it, but as I went upstairs to see what she had, I heard a flutter followed by a pounce. My heart sank. I got to the living room, but was confused as she appeared to be staring at a bright blue ball with a rod sticking out of it. When I realised it was a kingfisher, my heart went down even further. It was motionless and its neck was twisted at an odd angle with its beak (the rod) vertical.
I scooped it up and it looked at me without moving much. I now had a real dilemma. If Pip leaves a mouse disabled, I have no qualms about bopping it on the head to avoid further suffering. But I had a beautiful and highly protected species in my hands, which may or may not be illegal in itself, and I was now probably going to have to stave its head in*. I took it out and down the lane by the river. I found a stone and set the bird down on it to assess its condition and prepare myself for the grim task ahead.
You will never know the relief as it rose into the air with a single flick of its wings and soared down along the river as if nothing had ever happened.
* I have since checked out the legislation and, for the record, it is not illegal to kill a protected species which is injured and unlikely to recover, unless you unlawfully caused the injury. I guessed this was the case at the time, but did not have time to google it...
Labels: birds, conservation