Today I found a sick magpie in my garden. I hate these moments. You walk out for a breath of fresh air and there’s some bird with it’s head hanging low and half the feathers on its neck pecked away. What do you do?
As someone who spends a lot of time in the countryside I know the score. Things die , things attack other things. So do you let nature take it’s course? Nine times out of ten I do, survival of the fittest is there for a reason and is it really kinder to terrify an animal in its last moments?
Then there are the times you can do something and wish you had the stomach for it; a rabbit with myxomatosis, a fox that’s been hit by a car. My one reason to learn to shoot would be to put these animals out of there misery, if only I were strong enough to do it.
But, could I just go in, shut the door and let the magpie die? Of course I couldn’t. I threw a towel over it, bundled it into a box and gave it a bumpy ride to Sittingbourne to a kind lady who takes in injured wildlife. He survived the journey, she removed the ticks, she cleaned his manky eye and he perked up.
Many people hate magpies. They say they are viscous and cruel. I don’t think that any wild creature can be viscous and cruel. Magpies attack and kill other birds, they take birds eggs, they harass predators but all these things are done to survive, to eat, to reduce competition. Magpies are opportunists and carnivorous, they act according to their nature.
I am a human, a thinking animal. Humans can be cruel and viscous but they can also be emphatic and caring and just plain soft. I couldn’t do anything but rescue the magpie. I too must act according to my nature.