I have some interesting friends, and a great deal of work to do, so when I had a phone call from Ffion telling me that I had to go to her house to see what she had in her kitchen, or I would regret it I downed tools and went.
And this is how the story goes.
Ffion is the head skipper for Voyages of Discovery in St Davids. At the moment young birds are fledging, the peregrines are playing their own version of ‘chicken’ with the young ravens. All are learning to fly. The adults are chasing the young off, out into the wide wild world to care for themselves and for all it is a case of sink or swim. So, on the way back to the mainland at the end of a trip, Ffion spotted a young peregrine. She was flying across from the island to the mainland and the boat stopped to watch. She flew, lower and lower until she hit a wave and ended up in the water. Peregrine’s don’t swim. This one was lucky. Ffi has had experience for fishing for birds before, last time I think it was a young buzzard, so she fished her out of the water, wrapped her in a fleece and took her home, as the bird was sea soaked, thin. And this is what she had in the kitchen.
The bird had escaped from a box and cleared the windowsill and was happily looking out of the window.
Such wild beauty. Between us we found chicks to feed her on ( she needs roughage to make pellets, for her digestion) and now a quail to feed her on, the equivalent of super food to fatten her up. She has space to spread wings and the salt is washed out. She has some space, antlers and a log for a perch. Ffi already made an attempt to release her on the island, but she couldn’t lift. Perhaps too weak? There seems to be nothing wrong with her wings. So a few more days of being fed on a diet of chicks and quail and then hopefully she will be back out, queen of the skies, fastest creature alive, stooping on prey. She has new feathers growing and her plumage is looking better, but she could do with a little building up to add muscle. Such a fragile existence. Such a beautiful creature. Too good an opportunity to waste. So I painted the salt water queen of the skies.
Much as I love seeing her close I hope very soon to see her lift and swim in the ocean of air, look forward to hearing her call, hope she can find her wings, her place in the wild world. It’s a love story of the very best kind, where you love something enough to let it go.