Meet the man and jackdaw who have an adorable bond after a chance meeting on the road, and now they even ride their bikes together.
Michael Smith, 55, saw an injured baby jackdaw lying on the roadside as he was biking home one night in May.
He picked up the little bird, now called Patch, and brought him home where he made a little nest for him and fed him scrambled eggs.
Now recovered, and around 16 weeks old, Patch has spread his wings, but returns to his rescuer when Michael calls him.
Bird and the man are so close that Patch gives his friend pointy kisses and hitch lifts on his walks and bike rides.
Patch has been a famous guest at a wedding, and Michael loves him so much that he even slept outside one night when his feathered friend didn’t come out of a tree.
Michael, a former Malvern builder in Worcestershire, said: “I love nature and animals so I couldn’t leave him injured in the hedge.
“He’s like my best friend now, and I spend as much time with him as I can. When I’m without him I think of him, and when I see him again, he makes a cheerful little squark that is different from his normal squeak. He is the best pet and everyone loves him. He’s the talk of the town, and if I’m without him, everyone asks for him. “
Michael suspected that Patch, who he believes to be a boy, had been attacked by another animal when he found him with a shattered wing.
After living in an old box of pigeons that Michael got from a friend, and eating hard-boiled eggs, bread, and milk, it took Patch four weeks to regain use of his wing.
Michael still feeds Patch mealworms and fruits like cherries and grapes, but the now recovered bird catches moths, wasps, and flies on its own.
Patch lives in an aviary Michael built in the garden, but comes for play dates and the occasional sleepover at the house Michael shares with his mother, Mary, 78.
Michael said: “People call me the bird whisperer or the Malvern birdman. It came very naturally to me. And I remembered all these stories that I have heard about people who rescue birds and form a bond. “
“He sits on my shoulder and puts his beak on my face or gently bites my ear. He lets me stroke him under his chest and the feathers on his back quiver. And let me rub his beak. It is fun.
“I was pretty well known around here, but I am even more so now – it’s a lovely thing to be known for,” Michael said.
When out for a walk, he jumps to play in puddles and once enjoyed paddling in a stream on a hike in the Malvern Hills.
“Having it is such a beautiful thing to happen.”
(MEET Mike and Patch in the video below).
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