Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What to do if you get Woodcock in Soho

Being over 50, I think I'm allowed a certain degree of cynicism about social media, and Twitter in particular. I subscribe to the viewpoint that the clue about Twitter's utility lies in the first 4 letters. But I may yet be wrong.

And yes, I am aware of the logical inconsistency of writing about it on social media.

Picture this: a young man has lived for 4 years in London and on the morrow is leaving, possibly forever, to make his way elsewhere in the big wide world.

How better than to spend one's last lunch in the capital in the company of friends in a nice restaurant in Soho?

Approaching the door of said establishment, he scans the terrace (as was his habit) and sees, to his surprise, a very pretty bird sat over in the far corner. What can she be doing here, he asks himself and goes on in for his lunch.

Emerging into the afternoon light a few hours later, he sees her still there, looking decidedly ill at ease. Full of cheery bonhomie and determined to do one last good thing, one final fanfare, one parting shot for London, he approaches her.

Her feathers are a little ruffled, she makes no attempt to escape him as he approaches. Boldly, he sweeps her up into his arms and heads for the exit.

A few moments later, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, he has located the nearest veterinary clinic and makes his way to us.

"I've found myself a bird."

"Indeed you have."

"What is it?"


"I'm leaving London, I have to pack my flat, my bags, get to the airport, I can't possibly look after her..."

We took her in as the clinic was closing. What to do? I eyed up her long beak (she had already acquired gender, as you may have noticed, but without the benefit of major ornithological insights) and was reminded of Aesop's fable of the fox and the stork. Would we need to feed her with the aid of a long necked vase?

Some bright spark suggested we take a photo and put it up on Twitter with a request for identification and assistance.

Within half an hour, we had two correct answers: one from Clive Elwood (managing director for Davies Veterinary Specialists) and the other from the brother in law of one of the clinic staff. They had spotted the tweet and identified her as a woodcock. In Soho. Imagine.

Migrating, apparently, and sometimes they get confused over cities and fly into buildings.

The following morning, she was collected by those wonderful people from the London Wildlife Trusts so that they could take care of her and gently rehabilitate her back into the world she came from.

Twerp twats herself on a building, vet tweets on Twitter and all is well...

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