Spiked on a Dilemma


Meet Spike, the fledgling hoopoe.  I was happily sketching red deer last week when Sis phoned from Spain to say that a young hoopoe had left its nest in a nearby chimney and landed in their courtyard: what should she do?

Not being terribly cognisant with fledgling hoopoes, and resisting the temptation to say “Take lots of photos for me”, I asked whether or not it was well grown.  A very young bird should be placed back in the nest if possible, though in this case that would have been difficult given the location. 

Fortunately Spike was well grown and ready to leave the nest, though was struggling with the concept of flight.  Unfortunately there are numerous cats in the neighbourhood, so survival was going to be a challenge. 

My best advice was to leave well alone, as the parent birds were almost certainly nearby, but to discourage any feline interest.   At this time of year it’s not unusual to find a newly fledged bird, and unless it’s in direct danger, leaving nature to take its course is almost always the best option.

Sensible advice, but thoroughly nervewracking as I waited for an update the following day.  Did Spike survive the night and the local moggies?  I’ll let you know in tomorrow’s blog post!

About Jackie Garner

Wildlife artist.
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1 Response to Spiked on a Dilemma

  1. Paula says:

    We named him Spike because it seemed to suit him – a tough little character who was clearly terrified at the human interest but brave enough to raise his little crest and try his best to look aggressive. We felt quite mean taking photos but it’s not every day a baby hoopoe falls into your lap (courtyard but you get what I mean) so we grabbed a few shots and then left him alone.

    “Leaving nature to take its course” is much easier said than done…

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