self-catering holiday cottage, holiday rental near Alton Towers and Peak District

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Rural Holiday Cottage - nature update

A near tragic event became a very moving experience yesterday.  I heard a thump at the front of the house and recognised the sound immediately.  A young bird had flown into the front window, the third to do so this season.

Previously a finch went crash, gave itself a headache and flew away, somewhat wiser I hope.  Later a recently fledged woodpecker did the same, but it didn't make it.  I felt its little heart beat its last beat, and my own heart break just a little.  I kept one of its feathers for sentimental reasons.

So yesterday I wandered round to the front of the house to check what had misjudged its flightpath and was horrified to see it was another of the woodpecker brood.  Without letting it see me I quietly picked it up and felt its heart was beating.  Beak open and eyes closed, I didn't really fancy its chances and wasn't surprised when its heart starting beating less vigorously.  I sat still and kept it warm to give it some recovery time.  I was there for quite a long time and worried when it didn't react to the chirp of another passing woodpecker.  I felt hopeful when it started shaking its head.  Its heart beat firmly again. Then it sneezed.  Clawed feet suddenly gripped my finger firmly, although there was no sign of it wanting to fly away.  On the contrary it twisted its head round and hid it under its wing.  Ah, the restoring powers of sleep!

I wanted to summon assistance for the camera, but couldn't call out.  I needed to search online for what to do when you have a sleeping woodpecker in your hands - Chris Packham must have mentioned it somewhere - but my hands were full.  I needed to go on the school run . . .

Little woodpecker stayed sleeping when I transferred him to the covered birdtable.  I was away on the school run for half an hour and by the time I was back the little woodpecker had gone from the bird table.  Clinging to the birdfeeder outside the holiday cottage bedroom window, however, was a young woodpecker.  Normally so keen to fly away at the slightest movement this bird hid around the pole and bravely took its time.  I like to think it was the same woodpecker having a peanut breakfast after a restoring snooze. 

Meanwhile, Ashes, one of last years chicks, has become broody and has been given an enormous new and expensive hen house all to herself.  She is now sitting comfortably and is recovered from her initial separation anxiety.  If I remember correctly eggs take 19 - 21 days to hatch so expect a blog update on this subject in about 3 weeks if she stays the distance.