Canada Markets open in 7 hrs 4 mins
  • S&P/TSX

    20,954.99
    -218.41 (-1.03%)
     
  • S&P 500

    4,551.68
    -23.11 (-0.51%)
     
  • DOW

    35,490.69
    -266.21 (-0.74%)
     
  • CAD/USD

    0.8081
    -0.0009 (-0.1172%)
     
  • BTC-CAD

    73,061.27
    -2,616.37 (-3.46%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,421.24
    -53.09 (-3.60%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,803.10
    +4.30 (+0.24%)
     
  • RUSSELL 2000

    2,252.49
    -43.59 (-1.90%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.5290
    0.0000 (0.00%)
     
  • VOLATILITY

    16.98
    +1.00 (+6.26%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,253.27
    -24.35 (-0.33%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    28,820.09
    -278.11 (-0.96%)
     
  • CAD/EUR

    0.6963
    -0.0006 (-0.09%)
     

Country diary: a frail creature needs my help. But what is it?

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Stockfolio®/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Stockfolio®/Alamy

Nests have been collapsing from beneath the house gables in recent weeks. Wind and rain have helped; sun and unseasonal warmth then baked the nests’ remnants to the walls. On a day of the latter, I see the thing. From an upstairs window, caught on the guttering. It’s moving: persistently, pitifully, a small round head bobbing in and out.

From 10ft away, it looks in a hell of a state. I see a frail wing, between gutter and slate, and immediately think bat: then I see a splay of feather, and think bird. A baby, caught in the fragments of a nest that’s fallen? Unlikely, given the month. I watch it for ages, grimly, trying to work it out.

It’s the movement that’s the most troubling. Desperate, but constant – with that unmistakable, muscle-driven writhing of something. Of life. Obviously I must go down there, do something for it.

I do, with a net my kids used for rockpooling, a paper bag, my phone and – sickeningly – a brick, hoping not to need it. I’m hopeless with comforting injured animals, or ending the pain of ones beyond help. The former, I’ve done a few times, the latter only once – at speed, behind the wheel of a car.

Whatever was in the gutter, it would be grim. I consider leaving it, letting nature – or a cat – do their work. But I can’t shirk its suffering for my own sake.

I arrive beneath it, and stare, disbelieving. It’s dangling moss, trapped with a feather. At the guttering is a wedged twig that, as it sways, pushes a piece of moss outward and makes it look uncanny.

The movement – that basal trigger to hunters, saviours, observers – of something alive. I’ve been fooled before by leaves suspended by spiderwebs, moving gyroscopically in the breeze. But never so convincingly.

I feel stupid. Amazed. But more than anything, relieved. I knock on the window and shout to my wife, “It wasn’t alive, it was just moss”, and throw her a thumbs-up. She returns the gesture, though with a strange expression. She doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about.

• Country Diary is on Twitter at @gdncountrydiary

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting