A couple of weeks ago my eldest came running into the house.
“Daddy, daddy! There’s a baby bird in the garden with things crawling on it!”
First thoughts were that it was dead and the crawling things were maggots. No, I’m not squeamish. The only things that bother me are needles and midgets, but that’s another story.
I go outside and there’s this juvenile Swift. The things crawling on it were (what I thought) the fattest ticks I’ve ever seen. I’ve since found out that they were in fact bloodsucking louse flies. I first tried getting the insects off with a small stick but that was useless. I decided the only way to sort the thing out was to pick the bird up and grab the little blood suckers with my fingers.
I’ll tell you, you’ve never seen so many things that moved so quickly. It was like something out of a sci-fi movie. The poor little bird was shaking like like a leaf. The insects must have been sucking the life out of it.
I started grabbing them between thumb and index and squashed the little bastards on the wall, their full bodies exploding like “bloody” grenades with a satisfying “pop!” There were screams from my daughters as the insects crawled from the bird and onto my hand and arm, but they were too full to get away. All in all, I think I slaughtered around 12 of the things.
When I’d finished with the insects (and checked that there weren’t any more nestled under the feathers), the little bird seemed to settle down. The only thing I could feel was its little heart beating away.
We put it in a tree in our garden and it sat there quite content. The next morning it had gone. I like to think that we helped the little dude/dudess!
The numbers (although hard to determine due to their migration and the fact that they spend most of their life flying) are reported to be on the decline. Maybe we saved one more!
Photo-Finish Friday is the creation of Leah J. Utas. Go and check out her blog, The Goats Lunch Pail.
Comments are always welcomed. Thanks for looking.