Thursday, 27 March 2014


It was only the gentlest of thumps on our bedroom window. When I opened up and peered down on to the patio there it was - a Goldcrest.

No wonder it was such a gentle impact; it is Britain's smallest bird. In my childhood the farthing (1/4 penny) bore the image of a wren; Britain's smallest bird on Britain's smallest coin - or that was the theory. But the designers were wrong. At 4.5 to 7.0 grams the Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) is significantly lighter than the Wren (8 to 13 grams). Incidentally, in a poem by Charles Tennyson Turner the Goldcrest is called "the Gold-crested Wren.

A Goldcrest sits dazed on the doorstep.
27 March, 2014

I scurried downstairs and looked it it for a few seconds. Was it badly injured or just dazed?

At least its eyes were open.

I gently coaxed it on to my hand to look for obvious injuries: a drooping wing perhaps, or blood around the bill - not that I could have done much. It looked ok.

I wanted to withdraw as quickly as possible in order to avoid causing it further stress, but first I put it on to an old log where a cat would be less likely to spot it. It sat there for ten minutes or so then, after flicking its wings and turning its head to left and to right, it flitted off, first to perch in a nearby apple tree and then to resume normal activities, seeking insects with its delicate little bill.

A good start to the day.

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