Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sad tale of a Dikkop
I had rather a sad walk yesterday - soon after I left home I found a trail of striped feathers, leading to a poor, quite large, injured bird under a bush, panting, hiding its head and wishing (I imagined) that the world would just go away. I decide to carry on with my walk, and if it was still alive when I got back, try and do something to help it. It was, so I fetched a basket from home, picked him up and put him under a tree in my garden while I went to look him up in the Bird book and find a phone number for the zoo.
He's a Spotted Dikkop - and I realised when I read the description that we've been hearing him often at night lately - a loud panicked sounding call when all else is still. I had thought it was a bird in distress somewhere, but apparently this is it's territorial scream!
When I went back to check on him, he was dead - killed I suspect, by a certain delinquent black cat in our neighbourhood who I've seen tossing pigeons around with the greatest exhilaration.
I couldn't let such a magnificent creature die in vain, so I spent a few hours drawing him and his feathers that I went back to fetch from the crime scene - in my newly-established sepia nature journal, though I added a bit of watercolour to soften the contrast - for the feathers I used mostly watercolour after finding the pen too harsh and scratchy for their softness.