Baby magpie falls in with the right crowd in Oxford

Lottie Pauling with the magpie

Lottie Pauling with the magpie Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Headington and Marston. Call me on 01865 425422

WHEN this homeless baby bird fell from his nest, little did he know others without a home would come to his help.

Homeless Lottie Pauling and her partner Gabriel Chamberlain, who stay in the O’Hanlon House shelter in the centre of Oxford, have been looking after the stricken magpie since they found it languishing on the ground.

They feared the tiny creature, which they named Pieface, would not survive, but now he is getting better by the day.

Miss Pauling, 27, who ran away from home at 14, is sleeping rough in Oxford, but wanted to do all she could to help.

She said: “Nobody else was going to look after that bird.

“It was very cold and it was in shock. I didn’t want to leave him. The birds won’t have anyone to look after them. It is very hard to see them die.

“We do everything we can to save them and it is a lot of work, because the birds need feeding every hour. It is nice to look after them.”

Pieface is being fed with a mixture of seeds and worms. Miss Pauling and her partner, 40, have also rescued pigeons.

And they have given Pieface the nickname Thatcher, because, they say, of his greedy nature.

Miss Pauling said: “He is a real character. He was on the floor in Christ Church. He fell out of a tree and was being picked on by a couple of birds.

“We waited for a while to see if anyone would find him. I picked him up and fed him. I have been digging up worms and feeding him.

“He is getting really strong. He has lost all of his baby feathers and is a week or two from fledging.”

Miss Pauling, who has suffered from drug abuse in the past, is now in recovery and is pleased the baby bird is benefiting from her care.

And her beloved 12-year-old dog Marley, an Alsatian crossed with an Old English sheepdog, has been making friends with the new arrival.

The Oxford Times:

Gabriel Chamberlain and Lottie Pauling with the magpie and their dog Marley

Miss Pauling, who went to Henry Box School in Witney, said: “They just sit together. He will come up and lick him. But we are a bit worried that he might not be frightened of dogs.”

The couple will soon be speaking to the RSPB for expert advice on how to ensure Pieface can be safely released back to the wild in a few weeks’ time.

Animal rescue charity the RSPCA also provides information on what to do with injured birds.

Spokesman Andy Robbins said: “The best thing to do would be to call 0300 1234 999 and our call handlers will be able to advise on what is best to do in the specific circumstances.”

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