In the snowy, sub-zero temperatures of January last month, Aston University was paid a visit by a rare bird which had come into some difficulty...
On a cold January morning, colleagues were alarmed by a loud thud against the glass panel of the North Wing when, upon closer inspection, it was found to be a bird in severe distress. Heading in the direction of the Students' Guild, it veered sharply to the right and crashed straight into the wall. Immediately, English lecturer, Ramesh Krishnamurthy, rushed to its rescue. With the help of a colleague, Ramesh wrapped the bird in newspaper and covered it with polythene sheeting to keep it warm until it had recovered. Ramesh commented, 'I was intrigued by the species of the bird involved and thought it would be useful to find out. I rushed back up to my office and discovered on Google that the image which best fitted was described as a curlew. As I read on, I was alarmed to discover that curlew’s were in danger of becoming the first European bird to die out in more than 150 years!'
Seeking expert assistance
Together colleagues came to the decision that it was best to contact the RSPCA and RSPB, in the event that they had correctly identified it as a rare curlew. The Aston Campus Wildlife Group were informed and subsequently the RSPB requested a photo of the bird to help with its identification. Meanwhile, the bird continued to struggle inside its newspaper and polythene wrapping, and was consequently released only for it to once again crash into the glass walkway leading to The Students' Guild. The RSPCA were unable to come out due to the extreme weather conditions inundating them with such calls. The RSPB suggested that the bird was in fact a woodcock, a British bird rarely seen in urban environments.
As the bird continued to fly around, Carole, a member of the Campus Wildlife Group came to offer her assistance. By this point the bird had crashed into the reinforced glass panels of the BCU Art & Design building and was huddling itself in the snow on the sparse grass. As someone who has had previous experience of handling birds, Carole placed an empty box over the bird and gently grabbed its legs.
Good news at last!
The distressed bird was taken to the vets and was lucky only to have injured its eye. It was kept under observation for several days during which time it greatly recovered and was subsequently released into Sutton Park!
Perhaps this is where the names of Woodcock Street and Sports Centre harked back to a time when the birds were commonly seen in the area?
Words by Munira Jasat