Sunday, 17 July 2016

Brown Dwarf Star

The Northerner calls me into the back garden, where he's playing ball with our collie, Ted. 'I heard a thud and there was this baby starling on the ground,' he says. 'I think it must have flown into the window.'













I lure a barking Ted indoors and upstairs with a Bonio and shut him in his crate. As I make a makeshift hospital box from a mixed case of Somerset's Finest Thatchers Ciders lined with my newest, softest scarf, I wonder what the diminutive of starling is.  A starlingculus, perhaps, or starlingette. Or maybe a Brown Dwarf Star.


Back on the patio, the bird has its eyes shut and seems stunned. It's far from being part of that raucous band of juveniles that have just discovered their wings and come storming into our garden to squabble over the bird feeders before vanishing with a bang and a flap. 


I stroke its back with the back of my finger. After a while it opens its eyes and turns it head a little.  




The Northerner tries to get it to shift from one hand to the other, then gently raises and lowers his arms to let the bird feel the air beneath its wings, like you're supposed to do if you come across a grounded swift, but it just sits.


It has the tiniest bead of blood on one wing, and I fret that the other might be damaged as the way the bird's holding it isn't entirely symmetrical with the other. And is its foot broken? - No, it's OK, it's gripping a finger.


Then, just as we are debating in hushed tones whether we should ease it into its hospital box, it stretches its wings and is gone, sweeping down into the conifers at the end of the garden. One little star gone to shine in the evening trees.

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