A Turkey is not just for Christmas

  Artist and author, Celia Lewis shares her experience of hatching and keeping Turkeys.    I’m lucky enough to own a small incubator.  It’s the most fascinating piece of equipment that does the work of the hen or whatever bird’s eggs you’ve chosen to hatch.  As turkeys come into the Ducks & Geese book I thought I would hatch a few to really get to know them.    Firstly one must find someone willing to sell their eggs – google to the rescue and although September is late in the year for… Read More

The happy denouement

Conor Mark Jameson completes the Cheerps blog trilogy. First thing in the morning I confronted the task of working out how to get Cheerps back in his rightful place. I got the ladder out and climbed up alongside the nest hole. From the side, I could see a sibling sparrow’s head poking out, yelling encouragement at no doubt frazzled parents. The head turned unsteadily on a scrawny neck, got me in focus, fell silent, and slowly – comically – retracted. Looking from the front of the crevice I could see it, as… Read More

Bringing up baby – part 2

After yesterday’s cliffhanger, Conor Mark Jameson takes up the tale of Cheerrps… My foundling sparrow looks surprisingly under-developed, semi-naked, perhaps a week old and only half way to fledging, with bare patches of skin and rudimentary feathers beginning to show. Nidifugous, they call it. Its bulbous eyes are partially open, glinting between crescent lids. To rescue it from the airing cupboard I had to remove my watch and squeeze my hand through a narrow gap, using a screwdriver to manoeuvre the chick into a place from which I could pluck it, as… Read More

Bringing up baby

Guest blogger Conor Mark Jameson answers the cheerrp of nature… If you find a fledgling bird, you should leave it alone. That’s probably the most important thing to remember from what I’m about to relate. And yes I know you probably know it already, and have done ever since you first developed an interest in birds. I need to stress this point because each spring and summer the RSPB’s wildlife advisors field around 10,000 enquiries from people who have found – or, in many cases, ‘rescued’ – a ‘baby bird’. Picking it… Read More

Striking gold

Guest blogger Conor Mark Jameson finds something unexpected outside his window… I’m glad that others can vouch for what follows, otherwise I wouldn’t expect you to believe it. I’d even have doubts myself. I found a golden oriole. Now, that would be unexpected enough, but consider this: it was here in my Bedfordshire village, it was drizzling steadily (Jubilee Sunday – ask the Queen), it was very early, and I was in my bed. The bird was calling from the willow opposite the house. Was I half-asleep, in the optimistic inter-phase between… Read More

Buzzard love

Prize-winning writer and guest blogger, Conor Mark Jameson, author of Silent Spring Revisited, tells us what buzzards mean to him. I was dismayed this week to hear of the Government’ plan to destroy buzzard nests as part of a trial to see if shooting interests can rear more pheasants to shoot. I find this entirely bizarre. The piece below is from my forthcoming book Looking for the Goshawk, which is a search for the reason why wild birds and proximity to true wildness are integral to our well-being. Soaring spirits The buzzard has a… Read More