Last night I faced a dilemma, just as Dave Gray was arriving for tea and to watch a film the mobile beeped with news of a Manx Shearwater at Eyebrook Reservoir. Manxie is a big bird in VC55 and a bird I dipped by minutes at Saddington Reservoir way back when. There can’t have been many since then and none that were twitchable. Leigh was right to put any notion of going for it last night out of my head.
Ok then, I thought I’d go first light today but subsequent events made me hold on that decision. The bird was reported to be exhausted and this was later changed to report it was caught in something and a rescue was to be attempted if possible.
As it turns out a boat couldn’t be found at such a late hour and the bird was found dead this morning. This made me ponder a question… if a bird is found in poor health, taken into care and released then could you tick it? Personally I couldn’t go and tick a released bird in that way. Why? Well at the time of release it couldn’t be truly considered to be in a wild and unfettered state, could it.
In that case then what about ringed birds? Well I haven’t ever faced the dilemma of ticking an in-the-hand bird that wasn’t refound later. Anyway, being ringed is no barrier to it being a wild bird.
I suppose it’s up to each birder but a bird released from care is little better than one knowingly fed on board ship. We wouldn’t add Snowy Sheathbill to the British list… would we?