By Antonia Uri
For a fyle nou there’s been a hert-warmin video circulatin social media, fit is focused on the story o a humble wifie fae Inverness. The video, made bi ‘The Dodo’, tells the tale o Fiona Presly fa cam across a wee bee ’ithout wings in her gairden ae day, an decidit tae rescue her an tae gie her a new lease o life. Sae mony fowk hiv been titcht bi this story that it’s ainly fower views aff o twa million on YouTube alane, an will probably hit the twa million merk weel afore ah’v fínisht scrievin this airticle. If ye hinna seen it aaready, ah strangly advise ye tae, as it sers as a reminder o an aafu important lesson. As a quine fa haes growen up in the kintra, ah wis aaready weel awaur that leukin efter aa o the wildlife around us, is, in the wirds o Presly hersel, “our duty of care.” Ah will admít that ma hous juist disna feel richt if there’s nae a beastie o some kind takkin refuge in it. Be it a nae-weel hen sleepin in the bath, or a sickie lamb bosied up wi the dug in his bed in the utility room, there’s aye some kind o animal rescue mission gaun on. The story o Fiona an Bee haes brocht back fond memories o ae experience in partícular o practicin ma duty o care tae wildlife.
Ane o the advantages o bidin in the middle o naewey in the North-East o Scotland is the birds. If ye juist pit out some peanuts an some seed-baas, ye can attract aa kinds o birdies, big an smaa. Our favourite vísitor at the míntie is a male widpecker, fa is luvingly caa’d ‘Woody’ in ma hous, an sometimes he e’en taks his wife out for denner tae our gairden. Nae bird haes received as guid hospitality in our hous as ‘Katie Birdie’, tho, because she becam a full-time resident wi us.
It wis juist a normal day fan Katie cam intae our lifes, wi a thud an a lot o panic. Baffelt by the loud noise that haed just cam fae the doorstep, ma mam, ma sister an masel aa run tae see fit it wis. We war faced wi a tiny little petrified beastie that couldna even staund, an wis juist rollin about in fear. The baby spurgie haed faa’n out o her nest, mebbe in an attempt tae gang efter her mither, an brithers an sisters fa haed flown the nest abuin our door ’ithout her. Quick thinkin, an muivin, ma sister managed tae tak her in tae her haunds an caum her doun a wee bit – bi this pynt the couthie quine wis a naitural at daein this. We aa kept clappin the wee beastie, as if tae say “we winna hurt ye,” but at this pynt nane o us expectit her tae líve. She’d haen a richt dunt, an her hert wis gan a hunner tae ane. Bi some míracle, the spurgie survived the faa, an the shock. We got her tae eat fresh mashed strawberries (fit we aften uise tae revive nae-weel hens), an drink watter throu a syringe, makkin shuir that we didna gie her ower muckle for her wee body tae haundle but eneuch tae keep her gaun. Fan it becam clear that the spurgie haed becam attached tae us, an that she wisna gaun onywey, we aa decidit tae dae some resairch on keepin a hous-spurgie, an that she haed tae get a name for hersel, an somewey tae bide for guid. Ma mither’s suggestion, ‘Katie Birdie’ — efter ane o her favourite Scots sangs for bairns, ‘Katie Bairdie’ — wis the name o chyce. It juist seemed sae fittin consíderin that the chairacter Katie Bairdie, wi aa o her animals, reminded us a bit o oursels. Our ain Katie líved out the rest o her days in a lairge cage in our lívin room, aften gettin out for a flee about an chirpin awa happily tae hersel.
Ye dinna hae tae bide in the kintra or tak on a massive responsibílity like adoptin an injured beastie tae lend a haund, tho. Gaun back tae the subject o bees, Sir David Attenborough nae lang ago wrate a post on Facebook, tae remind fowk juist foo important our wildlife, an in partícular bees, are tae us. He pynted out that if we didna hae bees tae share our warld wi, than humans wad anely hae fower year afore we went extinct oursels. Attenborough’s post also tells us that ye dinna hae tae be ane o the warld’s maist famous naturalists tae help save the bees, an explains a trick that ah masel hiv seen wirk successfully multiple times ower the years. The saicret is that if ye see a wee bee fa ye think is on his last legs, ye juist hiv tae gie him a wee treat in the form o a teaspuin fu o sugary watter, an he will mair than likely come richt back tae life. As for the birds, aa ye hae tae dae is mak a bird-feeder wi some seeds in it the newest addítion tae yer gairden an ye will be on yer wey tae makkin aa the odds in helpin aa kinds o birdies.
It’s nae saicret that onybody fa bides in Scotland is lucky eneuch tae hae a rich diversity o wildlife, including mony different (an amazin) kinds o birds an bees, richt on their doorstep. They aa provide us wi multiple benefits an we hiv tae keep leukin efter them, in ony wey we can, be it as simple as gien them some feed or takkin them intae our hames an lattin them become pairt o the faimily.
Antonia Uri is a twinty-ane year auld Doric-spikkin student o Modren Furrin Leids at Aiberdeen University. She is currently the Alba Editor at The Gaudie, an a scriever for The National. Claik awa wi her on Twitter @teuchtertoni.