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foolish child

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Tags:wildlife, photographs

Sturnus vulgaris zetlandicus (juvenile)

There’s always one; every year. Sometimes down the chimney, sitting in the stove wondering where the world went. Sometimes bashing themselves silly against the windows. (Found a dead one outside a window just last week.) This one found the one remnant bit of netting from an old chicken run someone hadn’t cleared up, wrapped round a fencepost, and wondered what the world would look like if it put its head through. How long it was hanging there I don’t know, but I happened along. It seemed to have lost its voice, but that might have been exhaustion rather than near-strangulation.

I’d like to think it learned a lesson, but I’m not convinced. They’re supposed to be intelligent birds, but what lesson?

Don’t try to squeeze your head into gaps you can’t fly through?

Is that not instinct already? Probably not. That’s how you find nesting holes.

If these big clumsy ground things grab you and scare you near to death, they might not eat you? Even if they start chewing the thing you can’t get away from, right beside you. (One hand holding bird, one holding net. No scissors to hand, only teeth . . . to, er, mouth.)

I doubt it. You have to be able to understand the lesson to learn it, and I think all it understood was eeeeeeee . . . (etc.) . . . eeeeeeeee, repeated every time it caught a mental breath. If. Then shutdown. Until I’d got it back to the house, got someone with scissors, juggled bird and camera for a bit and thrown it skyward, since when it might have some opportunity for reflection. Until a cat or a hawk gets it. I don’t hold out any more hope for its good sense in future than I do for comprehending gratitude. Still, photo. That’ll do.

I can’t help but think there’s probably something in existence that could put me in such a situation, only it might not involve something big wandering past that doesn’t eat humans, and I might not feel quite so able to fly nimbly away on restart, if let go. Or it might be something that traps us collectively, and there might be no-one who can make sense of it who’s in a position to help, or willing.

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