A life with birds

I love all wildlife and have a passion for birds but I have a particular soft spot for corvids. Corvids is a family of birds which include magpies, crows, rooks, ravens and jays.

Many believe crows are evil and will peck your eyes out if given the chance and think magpies are thieves that steal shiny jewellery. The former is completely untrue but the latter is quite accurate! In fact, most corvids are attracted to shiny objects, mainly because they are so clever and love to investigate anything that catches their eye. The name of this blog comes from my love of magpies and their habit of hoarding interesting objects which they usually cache in one particular place. It’s a bit of a metaphor for this blog; a collection of my findings and adventures all one place.

Since the age of 8 years old I have hand several orphaned or injured birds including 2 crows, 2 magpies, a jackdaw and a rook, many ducklings, and 5 blackbirds. My step dad is very knowledgeable about birds and taught me how to bring up the first crow called Cornelious.

I have been very lucky to have been brought up in a home with lots of outdoor space and aviaries which is perfect for taking in injured and orphaned wildlife. Here are a few pictures of some the birds we have raised.

When I was working at an RSPB reserve a couple of years ago, many people brought in injured or abandoned birds to the centre where I worked. As the RSPB is a conservation charity rather then a wildlife rescue, they can’t take in birds. The best place to take them is the RSPCA or a local wildlife rescue centre and, as a last resort, some vets.

On two occasions I was able to help out with some birds brought in by the public as I had the time and experience to dedicate to them. One was Spiro the magpie who had fallen from his nest while still a nestling and injured his leg. We had hm for several weeks and he grew in size well but sadly his leg got worse despite several trips to the vets and medication, and he eventually passed away. It was a very sad day but D and I had tried our best (and spent a bloody fortune) to help Spiro.


During the same month a mother and daughter brought in 7 ducklings which were only a few days old. They had witnessed someone run over and kill the mother duck. We raised them until they were about 4 months until they were fully grown and had their first set of feathers before releasing them at the RSPB reserve to mingle with the many other mallards that lived there.

Boris the rook was my very good friend and we spent a lot of time together. He loved pulling the ferret’s tails and stealing my hair clips but hated D. D came into my life after Boris so he was quite jealous of D and would peck him quite hard for no particular reason! I was distraught when Boris disappeared one day but I knew it was highly likely that he would fly of to find other rooks at somepoint.

We hand raised 5 blackbird chicks which were rescued from a fallen tree a couple of years ago. These cuties required feeding every 20 minutes or so and were ready for breakfast at first light. Once they left their nest and began to hop around they were a nightmare to keep an eye on!  We gradually withdrew all contact from them once they were old enough to live in the aviary and only entered to leave them food. When the time was right I opened the door to the aviary and they made their way out into the big wide world.

PS.  Raising wild animals can be complicated and takes up a LOT of time and many need specialist food and care. If you come across a wild animal that appears to be abandoned or in danger, the best thing to do is call your local wildlife rescue or the RSPCA.

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.