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29 May 2007

Lunchtime lifesaving drama! [More:]I was on my daily walk today with a colleague, round Millwall Dock, which is huge and very deep. As we walked along the path, there was a little fledgling blackbird on the walkway, tail feathers not yet grown, literally finding his wings, learning to fly.

We startled him, and he flew up onto the post-and-chain fence next to the water, and, confused, he flew from there right into the water!

Oh noes!

He sort of floated there, then made his way across to the wall, but there was no way he could get out. A couple of mallards circled nearby (I have no idea if they'd eat a bird, but I didn't like the look of them.)

I said to my friend "we can't leave him" and I took off my coat. I think he thought I was going to leap into the water, but I lay on the ground and under the chain and tried to reach the little bird. But, being almost a dwarf, my arms wouldn't reach anywhere near.

So, sighing, my friend handed me his specs and stretched his 6ft 2in frame out over the edge of the dock. He could reach the bird but it was so scared it tried to get away, and we were worried it'd drift out of reach.

Then I had an idea - to gently put one of the lifebuoys into the water in the hope that the bird could get on it, dry itself out and fly off.

But just as my friend was getting the lifebuoy down, a man came along carrying an umbrella. I asked him if we could borrow it and showed him the bird. He then joined the 'save the bird' posse, and had the good suggestion to open the umbrella, put it under the bird and lift it up out of the water.

After two or three tries, it worked and I was able to lift the terrified little creature out of the umbrella and put him as far out of harm's way as I could carry him without doing him any damage (wild birds can easily die of shock from human handling).

I think he'll be ok. He was just really, really frightened.

So, a tick in the credit column in my karma account, I hope.

And, of course, when we got back to the office, we had to virtually re-enact the whole scenario for everyone, with added drama. Heh.
Yay Jan!
posted by Doohickie 29 May | 14:10
Great story! Too bad you didn't have your camera.
posted by taz 29 May | 14:14
That's awesome.
posted by mudpuppie 29 May | 14:17
Yay essexjan! I would have done the very same. Here's to hoping he has wonderful birdie life.
posted by Luminous Phenomena 29 May | 14:18
I envision this with a snappy theme song, and frozen images of the two of you as your names appear in the credits.

Maybe ...

posted by stilicho 29 May | 14:32
posted by CitrusFreak12 29 May | 14:37
Bird saves bird. Go man go.
posted by ethylene 29 May | 14:56
E.J. Hooker.

And a bit of MacGyver for the resourcefulness of using the umbrella for the rescue.
posted by ericb 29 May | 14:58
Great story! And hooray for happy endings!
posted by redvixen 29 May | 18:13
Cool! I hope one day your life is saved by a blackbird to balance the ledger.
posted by dg 29 May | 18:36
You're the wind beneath that blackbird's wings, ej.

posted by deborah 29 May | 19:21
Yay, essexjan! Shoulder to cry on, keeper of the light, and saviour of helpless waterfowl. Wow.

posted by elizard 29 May | 23:53
ej, first off, you are awesome. Great story. Second off, The Husband just cut down a tree which we didn't know - had birds nests in it. What trauma. Baby and Parent Birds all around, right next to the house. Of course these birds weren't in the freaking water (!) but our best and hardest decision was to leave them as they fell and let nature sort it out. It was traumatic hard for two days, but I think all the baby-type (not junior babies, but late may young birds) managed to relocate/fly early. We felt like absoloute shitake about it, but. It's over. Birds freak me the heck out. Esp. Birds in distress, and most especially, birds IN THE HOUSE - which, when I was a young child I was told was a harbinger of death, and (also young it happened and it) turned out to be true. Plus the whole helpless thing that a bird trapped inside feels. Gah. Ok, too much, but good on you and your friend for saving baby bird without touching it. I was SO tempted to "help" distressed young birds, but they turned out fine, I would have hurt by touching/sheltering like I felt I should. Brrrrr.
posted by rainbaby 30 May | 07:08
What an incredible story. Bravo, ej!!
posted by BoringPostcards 30 May | 07:43
Three Thank Yous || Turns out she's evil.