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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man's Best Friend Now Has Wings: Wild Bird Befriends Man After Chance Encounter

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Michael Smith, 55, of Malvern, Worcestershire, in the U.K., has never had a pet before, but earlier this year, an animal chose him and the two have been fast friends ever since.

It started when Smith spotted a tiny bird on the roadside while riding his bike in May. He stopped, examined the wild baby bird — which appeared to have been attacked by something — and decided to take it home and try to nurse it back to health.

“I love nature and animals,” Smith said, according to the Good News Network, “so I couldn’t leave him injured in the hedgerow.”

He made scrambled eggs for the bird, kept it safe and warm and ensured the creature made a full return to health. In exchange, the bird returns to him every time he calls.

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“Patch,” as the bird has been called, and Michael are local celebrities now, and it’s not often that they’re apart.

They go to the pub together, they visit friends together, they go on bike rides together and Patch has even been to a wedding.

The bird, a jackdaw, lives outside in a home Michael carefully crafted for him but knows he can count on Smith for tasty treats, beak rubs and adventure.

“He’s like my best friend now, and I spend as much time with him as possible,” Smith said.

“When I’m without him I’m thinking about him, and when I see him again he does a little joyful squark that is different from his normal screech. He’s the best pet, and everyone loves him. He is the talk of the town, and if I’m without him everyone’s asking after him.

“He sits on my shoulder and puts his little beak to my face or gently nibbles my ear. He lets me stroke him under his breast and his feathers on his back all quiver. And he lets me rub his beak. He’s so much fun.”

The cheeky bird has a habit of stealing Smith’s keys. Smith is also convinced the bird is trying to get him to quit smoking, as he’s been known to steal Smith’s cigarettes and destroy them.

Smith says if the bird ever wants to leave, he’s free to go, but that in the meantime he is enjoying the companionship and even has thought about getting Patch into film.

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“People call me the bird whisperer, or bird-man of Malvern,” Smith continued. “It came quite naturally to me. And I remembered all these tales I’ve heard about people rescuing birds and forming a bond.

“I was quite well known around here but I’m even more so now: it’s a lovely thing to be known for.”

“Having him is such a lovely thing to happen.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking