Late yesterday afternoon, my SO and I heard a strange noise, an almost metallic thump. Now we have quite large sliding doors/windows facing our back garden, and on occasion we have had birds mistaking this for a cave entrance
, but this was a little different. Anyhow, about 30 seconds later my two dogs (2 boxers) start barking hysterically. I rush outside, and there, on my stoep is a small raptor, dark on the back and heavily speckled creamy white underneath. Clearly stunned and with a damaged wing. Minor chaos ensued as we try to get the dogs away from the bird and to see if we can help. Eventually the bird scrambles to our back wall and perches on top. We call the folks at Spier estate (Eagle Experience) as I know they will rescue raptors. Too late for them to come and collect, but if possible, could we put the bird in a cardboard box and bring it to them this morning. Yeah. Right.
By this time the bird is on my neighbours' pigeon cage. The pigeons are not happy. I am starting to think this is not going to end well. The bird then decides to get back into my garden, just as my SO arrives with a box, and 2 boxers also arrive. This is when I had a minor brain cramp. Let me say that even a small raptor, damaged wing or not, should not be tackled with bare hands. We ended up with my left hand holding the bird across the back, and both the birds talons firmly embedded in my right hand's index and middle fingers.
I can report that attempts to pull your fingers free from the talons results in the pressure being applied increasing quite remarkably!
Somehow I eventually pulled my hand free and the bird was in the box. Right now, as I type, the bird is on it's way to Spier.
You will note that I have not given an ID. I suspect a juvenile Little Sparrowhawk (first thought it was a juvy Black Sparrowhawk, but the size, coloration and lack of yellow cere seems to rule that out, as it does for a juvenile African Goshawk). Doubtlessly I will get an ID from my SO later this a.m!