Can birds communicate their feelings when distresss turns to relief?
A Blue Titís Thanks
Last week on a somewhat dull overcast morning, I was ironing through a pile of washed clothes. In a state of numbed mental activity, I was disturbed by my collie racing through the lounge, barking at the closed conservatory doors.
I looked up to see a bird in distress hitting itself on each window pane as it sought its escape from its recent point of entry. I called Tache to his basket and instructed him to STAY. I entered the conservatory and quietly opened both doors to increase the area of escape to safety. It was a blue tit. I spoke quietly in response to its distressed chirping and followed it around awaiting it to settle within reach. Alas my approach scared it to flight and the open doors became a further barrier as it crashed into the angled area behind one door. This however, gave me the opportunity to approach it and restrict its escape. I knelt down and with both hands managed to trap the bird. As I stood up I was anxious not to harm it in any way. Unfortunately I was too concerned for its protection that the tit found an adequate aperture in my cupped hand to set off once more.
Two minutes later the tit had returned to the same trapped area and I had a second chance to capture it. I did so with the skill of a pet shop seller selecting a cage bird. Throughout the operation I offered words of comfort and encouragement. I went through the open doors and stood on the patio. I continued to speak while easing my cupped hands open. The tit looked at me, realised it was free to leave and did so.
It flew to the top of a miniature pear tree some few feet from where I stood. I could see it breathing heavily as it recovered from its ordeal. I continued to reassure it by voice. Then as its breathing returned to normal, I changed my tone and made encouraging sounds for it to return to me. I had not moved from the moment it flew away. Then quite suddenly with a cocky head movement, it flew from its high perch to the nearest branch to me, only three feet away. I smiled. It chirped. Isnít thanks the most wonderful word in any language?