Coal tit in the house

I have had the study window open during this unseasonally sunny weather. Through it this morning, I heard and then watched a coal tit making a right old racket, as it foraged for food.

Coal tits are perhaps my favourite members of the tit family. They are a regular but infrequent visitors to our garden, and don't tend to hang around: a quick flit over to the bird table, they grab a sunflower heart, and are off. I couldn't believe my luck that one was just feet away from me, hopping about in the fir tree outside the open window.

Of course, as soon as I picked up my camera, it flew off.

Then, in the late afternoon, Jen called me to the living room. A juvenile coal tit had flown through the open barn-door and up to the round window above. It was dashing itself against the glass in something of a panic, but would occasionally stop to help itself to one of the many dead insects on the (to us) inaccessible window sill.

I went up to our gallaried landing and tried to shoo the bird back down into the living room, from where it would hopefully find its way out. This technique worked a treat with a robin last summer, but the coal tit was having none of it: it kept flying in circles against the ceiling, then into the huge (also inaccessible to us) mass of cobwebs in the top corner of the barn, then clinging on to the stone barn wall for a rest.

As I couldn't get anywhere near the bird, I went and got some drain-rods from the garage, and joined them to make myself a long pole with which I could reach across the chasm between the gallaried landing and the barn wall. The idea was to use my improvised pole to scare the bird into a more accessible part of the house. With hindsight, I should have used something more sturdy... Snap! The drain rods split in two and fell into the living room below. But the noise was sufficient to scare the coal tit, which made a bee-line for the other (accessible) round barn window. It thudded into the glass and fell flapping and screeching onto the window-sill.

My notorious phobia of dealing with panicking, flapping creatures meant that it was Jen who had to pick the poor creature up and leave it on the patio bench.

By now, the bird had fallen into unconsciousness. It looked like a goner. We debated putting it out of its misery, but I was pretty sure its neck was not broken, so we decided to leave it for a while.

The poor bird eventually came to, but simply sat on the bench looking stunned. We left it alone for 20 minutes or so, occasionally checking to see how it was doing.

Eventually, it began to look a bit more alert, so I went out on to the patio and deliberately scared it... The coal tit took off and flew strongly into the safety of our Scots pine 15 yards away.

I think it will be all right.

(And, no, I didn't think to take any photos!)

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