The redwing and its larger cousin, the fieldfare are harbingers of the winter to come.
True thrushes, they will have spent the warmer months in Scandinavia before flying to Britain to avoid that harsh northern climate.
Our first redwing of this winter has just been brought in. Naively it chose to visit man’s world of his garden only to fall foul of the cat.
Not all of man’s world is a nightmare but I estimate that 80% of our casualties are inadvertently caused by that venture into that world.
I regard these encounters as accidental and often unavoidable. There are no guilty parties.
The horror happens when the damage is intentional which I am relieved to say, doesn’t happen that often.
On September 29 2011 we released seven young red kites that were then fit enough to go.
They were all fitted with rings and coloured wing tags to help identify them.
They all went well especially GR 40461, wing tag yellow/White 5 who has just turned up over two years later nearly 200 miles away in Yorkshire.
A great success and all we could hope for in a rehabilitated bird. Until that is GR40461 flew slap, bang into the middle of a ‘nasty man’s world’.
GR 40461 was found dying and soon succumbed to probably intentional poisoning. A great bird brought down in his prime.
I accept that all of us, man and wildlife, have to live side by side.
Only occasionally do we bump into each other.
Thankfully I know from experience that the vast majority of birds we release are savoured rather than slaughtered.