Giving Nature a Helping handThis summer's weather has been something of a disappointment, cold, wet and often very windy . However it is this last misfortune which has provided us with one of the excitements of our year.
This occurred when the strong winds of July blew a bird’s nest out of a conifer tree and on to our flower bed. Although the nest was virtually destroyed, five nestlings remained inside. What is more, they were still alive and still being attended by the parent birds. They turned out to be Goldcrests, the smallest of Britain's resident birds and very infrequent visitors to our garden on the western edge of Billericay.
To protect the nest against the all too apparent danger from the numerous cats, foxes, squirrels, crows etc, which stalk our garden, I covered a wire cage with 2 cm chicken wire mesh and secured it over the nest, I half expecting that it would deter, not only the predators, but the parent birds as well. I need not have worried, as I had hardly fixed it in place before the adult male was back, with a beak full of caterpillars for the young birds.
I was able to watch them for the next few days, as the nestlings gradually developed their flight feathers and began exploring their environment. First two of them ventured up on to the top of the cage, where they sat, much to my consternation, from late morning until I had to leave them that evening.
By the next morning they had moved into the surrounding shrubs, to be joined, later in the day, by the other three from the nest. Thus all five successfully fledged and, two weeks later, were still around, as I could tell from their high-pitched reedy calls way up in the conifer trees.
We just hope that their somewhat unusual start in life has not deterred them and that they will be back to visit us again next year."