Some very agitated bird calls alerted me this morning to a fascinating scene
in amongst some of the trees, overlooking the footbridge by the old oak tree
along the Gravel Hill section of the Brook. Three adult male blackbirds were
fiercely defending their communal territory and nesting areas from the sinister
attentions of a large predatory magpie. Despite a sustained effort on the part
of the magpie to investigate the blackbirdsâ€™ nests, it was eventually
driven off by the smaller birdsâ€™ concerted team effort!
However, not too far away, I observed a dead pigeon (see photo above)-it appears
that it had met quite a violent death, as there was evidence of it having been
killed by another creature, as there were signs of bleeding around its neck,
presumably caused while it was still alive.
Earlier, I had discovered a dead juvenile male blackbird, probably one that
had accidentally fallen or been ejected from its nest by another bird.
Although these accounts are not altogether significant, nor necessarily newsworthy,
they are nonetheless topical at the moment. Almost daily we are reminded of
the ever-present threat of bird flu, and have already had one confirmed case
on the east coast of Scotland. Fortunately due to good preparation and forward
planning on the part of the local authorities in that region of Scotland, it
would appear that the threat of the disease was successfully contained.
The sight of a solitary dead bird should not be regarded as the cause of a potential
crisis! Birds die of old age, and remain where they fall dead. Similarly in
the case of the pigeon, they may be victims of predatory attacks, or might have
accidentally fallen from a nest.
Adherence to good hygiene procedures should
always be followed when faced with the possibility of handling a dead creature:
1) Avoid if at all possible handling any dead creatures-and strongly dissuade
children from doing so.
2) Always wash your hands after handling animals and pets,
particularly before eating or touching food yourself.
3) If you need to remove a dead bird or other creature from your garden, use
4) If you see several dead birds together, let the local authorities know. Have
a look at the British Veterinary Associationâ€™s guide to Avian Influenza HERE