Headbangers and drunks

No chance of a Sunday lie-in for me. It was like somebody with a pneumatic drill. A woodpecker has sussed out how to drum louder than the other peckers in the neighbourhood. At 7am he woke me up by headbanging on the metal roof on the house.

I stumbled into the garden to see where it was, but he had gone. I put out some Stilton cheese for the birds and went in to make a cup of tea.

Immediately, a Robin flitted down, took mouthfuls of the old bread on the lawn – and then it tried the cheese. Liked it. Had some more – a sticky crumb too big to swallow –  and gulped to get the Stilton down.

The Robin flew to the fence and started to wobble. It rolled back its head slowly, its red breast puffed out and the bird shrugged and gulped. I thought it must be struggling with the cheese, wondered if my first aid skills covered this, but in a second it was fine.

The head went back again, almost totally limp, as if the bird was about to die! Slowly the Robin shakes itself straight. And again, as if dropping to sleep, back went the head again, rolling around… the bird clung onto the fence desperately… and shook itself upright. Then I realised – it’s drunk!

I think it’s either the grapes that I have put out for the birds, or bread, which could be fermenting as it sits around, damp in the snow – or inside the bird’s gut, maybe? Birds often get intoxicated by fermented fruit.

So I’ve decided – birds are stupid and not worth the trouble. Here’s a link to a story about a Hummingbird that was found unable to fly. Obviously it had a drinking problem.


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