Over the decade since I first started training as a T-permit holder I’ve experienced a few instances when birds do something completely unexpected. On Wednesday, I had just finished processing a Goldcrest but, when I opened my left hand to release the bird, it did not fly off immediately. It didn’t look stressed and certainly wasn’t hypothermic so I tilted the palm of my hand slightly to encourage it on its way. I wasn’t ready for what happened next.
In the flash of an eye, the bird rotated through 180o and then disappeared straight up the sleeve of the jacket I was wearing. Trying to work out where a bird weighing just 5 grams was hiding in a quilted sleeve was never going to be an option so I was left with no alternative but to gingerly slip my arm out and take the coat off. Gentle exploration located the bird at around about the elbow, whereupon it was easily extracted and flew off apparently non the worse for its brief experience as a troglodyte.