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Ode to a baby blackbird

May 23, 2011

I was saddened by an event that occurred in my garden this weekend. We were sat in the kitchen with the back door into the garden open, when a lot of loud squawking filtered in and grew and grew in decibels.

We went out to see what all the noise was about, as we walked out a male and female blackbird and magpie flew away from a bush. By the bush was a a smattering of downy feathers and some broken branches, one of the dogs started sniffing behind it so we peered around.

Lying on it’s back, barely able to breathe with visible pain in it’s eyes was a baby blackbird- I cannot bear to see animals in pain so I was instantly alarmed. I looked into it’s eyes and felt a connection with another living thing as it struggled to live and it seemed to be looking at me and I felt so sorry for it because it was part of nature and there was little I could do for it save give it sympathy and hope it would recover.

Anyway we managed to turn it over so it was on it’s front rather than lying on it’s back and thought best to leave it 5-10 mins and see if it’s parents (which had flown off when we came outside) came back to help it.

We had guessed at this point that the magpie had tried to attack it and the blackbird parents had tried to defend their young. We went inside and watched for a while from the conservatory, we then went back outside about 10 minutes later, again as we walked outside a magpie flew away from the bush.

When we got over to the baby blackbird it was lying on it’s side after trying to move a few steps and had clearly died, we picked it up and put it in the bin so that the magpie wouldn’t come back and try to eat it.

When we picked it up we noticed it’s neck had a deep gauge in it where the magpie had pecked at it. I know this is the way nature works but it still upset me to think of the manner in which it died and parents had tried to protect it and really being so young it had no life at all. It made me ask how much can animals know and feel?

So later at dusk as some blackbirds (i like to think the parents for artistic, poignant reasons!) I went into the garden to take some photos and noticed the little downy feathers still there next to where it had died and thought I would use some of them for a photo and  call it ‘Ode to a Baby Blackbird’.

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