On Sunday my nephew J found a baby blackbird (aka ‘grackle’). It had fallen out of the nest but we couldn’t locate its parents and reunite it with them. So we took it home. Then yesterday J had to leave the island to visit family in Italy. Of course Sue and I are left with the bird.

We’re feeding it cat food as a kind of worm/insect mash substitute and it seems to be working. The bird has been named ‘Eric’ by a guest who is staying with us, though of course we don’t know its sex. It sleeps right through the night but does make a real racket whenever it wants to be fed, which is about every 40 minutes during the day.

This morning, just as I was cleaning out Eric’s box, a man came to the gate identifying himself as an Environmental Inspection Officer. I came out to speak to him, with Eric still on my finger, upon which the bird immediately dropped a little gift. We seemed to be rapidly heading outside standard hygiene regulations and I couldn’t repress the urge to start babbling the back story about the bird. I thought that the inspector might have been summoned by an irate neighbour and that I might be arrested on the spot for harbouring unclean beasts. In the event, the man was just checking our mosquito-proofing and it was all fine.

Anyway, Eric is a lot of work. But it’s cute.