I looked over to the window just in time to see that a bird had flown into the window.
It probably happens once a week, but usually the hapless chaffinch - they're always chaffinches, for some reason - flies away with a slight headache.
Today's bird had whacked into the glass with quite some force, and it seemed to have dropped down to the ground. Could be serious. So I abandoned what I was doing and dashed out of the office (those osprey blog comments would have to wait).
Ariving at the scene, I found the chaffinch sprawled in the grass, with both wings outstretched. It offered no resistance as I picked it up, but it was blinking, breathing and just looking a bit dazed. Phew! Window collisions are often fatal for birds.
The best thing for a dazed bird is recuperation in quiet, safety, warmth and darkness, so that it won't be caught by a predator, get chilled or flail around and hurt itself. Darkness keeps birds quiet.
We popped it into a box and put that in a dark corner, under my desk. For a few minutes, I heard it scampering around inside, but then things went quiet. What would be the outcome?
I made myself wait until 10 am before inspecting the patient. Took the box outside - I know this is the RSPB, but even we don't want birds flying round the office! - and slowly, carefully lifted the lid.
The chaffinch was still alive, so I put my hand in the box to lift it out. Somehow it ended up perching on my little finger, and it stayed there for a couple of minutes, looking around and seeming quite perky. We could see from the fine down on the back of its head that it hadn't been out of the nest long.
Since it hadn't flown off, I was just about to try to pick it up again when it decided it was time to go, and flew off strongly to hide in the hedge. Result!
So, this one had a happy end, but the moral of the story is that we're going to get some more stickers for the outside of the window. They help break up the shiny reflective surface. Hopefully they'll help save a few more chaffinches from concussion...