Tuesday, 21 July 2009


We thought it was injured at first, shuffling across the crazy paving in its red black and white plumage, but it was a fledgling, a baby woodpecker that had yet to learn to fly. Comical on the path on its short legs it went like a clockwork climbing toy straight from the ground up one of the Goat Willow's six trunks, probing cracks in the bark for food. Perhaps it might just survive.
In the evening it was settled three feet up the thick stem of a shrub, eyeing up the peanut feeder with its swarm of fledgling tits, but unable to get there without flight. I watched it for a long time, but it seemed to have settled for the night, and when I walked past a yard away, it watched me but stayed put in the foliage. Yes, it might just survive.
I looked out a few minutes later to see if it was OK. A sudden flurry under the bush and a black-as-night cat shot away through the hedge. The woodpecker was gone.

1 comment:

Preoccupations said...

Reminds me so much of Roethke's poem, 'The Meadow Mouse' — http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-meadow-mouse/