Life is made by little moments; rare and unexpected incidents which leave an indelible mark on the path you’ve trodden. On a weekend in late February I had such a moment on the beach at Sitges when an injured Cormorant was carried ashore by the waves and left floundering on the sand.
I watched him floating in, not sure at first whether he was injured or just very brazen, but it soon became apparent all was not well with him.
I crossed the beach immediately and on the way I tried to decide how best to handle a bird of that size. It was clearly in distress and I had to make sure I didn’t add to it’s stress so when I got close I picked him up from behind and held his wings down with my thumbs while cradling him in my hands.
Cormorants aren’t small and their long neck and sharp beaks combine to good effect. I had to keep his face away from mine while I carried him.
A group of people gathered around us and two teenage girls very kindly found the number of a 24hr vet in Sitges. We knew we’d probably have to pay for any treatment our new friend was going to receive but that didn’t matter, we just wanted to see him fixed.
On the way through town we were shot some very strange looks from passers-by and inquisitive types came closer for a look. I was concerned that Reggie (Reginald Heron) was getting more agitated so we tried to take a route less walked. As we got close to the vet we were stopped by local police who quizzed us about Reggie.
They were in the middle of helping Bombers (the Spanish fire brigade) but after we explained what had happened they called a wildlife centre near Barcelona and they came to collect the Cormorant. We had to wait about 20 minutes for them to arrive but I’m glad it went that way as we’d have struggled to look after an injured bird of Reggie’s size.
The man from the wildlife rescue centre was very sweet and helpful. He put Reggie in a carry case and loaded him into his jeep, explained that he would send us a card letting us know how Reggie was getting on and then sped off.
We haven’t had the postcard yet but you can be sure we’ll tell you about it when we do.
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