8 a.m.: ‘TOCK! Tock!’

Two knocks on the windows and one goldfinch is lying stunned on the patio. I guess that a sparrowhawk has just raided the garden. A small flock of goldfinches is flying off with buoyant, bouncy flight over the rooftops.

At first it seems as if it has been killed instantly by the impact but I start wondering whether it is still breathing. Perhaps its just that its tail is moving in the squally wind.

I slide back the patio doors and reach out and put it upright so that its wing isn’t splayed out. It keeps its position but still with no obvious signs of life.

As a shower of sleety rain starts, I reach out again to put it in a dry spot beneath the patio table. Now it’s looking like a stunned sportsman, hunched with head down at the edge of the playing field in recovery position.

Twenty or thirty minutes later it is sitting on the spot, looking stunned and turning its head, as if looking at the patio windows and wondering what hit it. No sign of a broken neck or wing and its sitting symmetrically, suggesting that it hasn’t broken a leg either.

Forty minutes later it has gone but Barbara sees a single goldfinch on the nut feeder. It appears to have made a full recovery.


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