The best reason to break the Attenborough rule… sorry David

David and the eagle

This is a guy who knows what to do with a bird of prey…

David Attenborough is famous for many reasons. He’s excellent at narrating stuff – mostly wildlife but also curling. He’s brothers with Santa Claus and he’s won Baftas for all the forms of television – black and white, colour, HD and 3D.

David has one very important rule – I’ve heard it on TV many times. It’s a rule which I broke just a few days ago.

He says that when an animal is hunting another animal, you should never get involved. You will only make things worse. So if a cute baby elephant is being eaten alive by a group of lions – you can’t do anything. You just have to watch Dumbo die.

Because nature just works itself out – you can’t police it or try and add your own morals to it without looking like someone who does this sort of thing.

But it’s difficult to remember that rule when you’re not in the Savannah. It’s hard to recall it when you’re say, in a car park in Gateshead just about to leave work.

I’m sorry, David, for breaking your rule

But here’s how it happened…

So I leave work, a tired and bedraggled man, fighting through the drizzle to get to my car. I parked it round the back where everyone does. I get into my car but as I do I see something moving.

I thought at first it could be a cardboard box and bin liner blowing in the breeze. It was sort of brown with black poking out the sides. But it interested me enough to keep looking.

So eventually I realise that the brown part definitely has a head that is moving – it’s alive. I turn on my engine and drive towards the brown/black thing that has a head. And as a I get really close I realise that this is a mega bird – like the best type we get in the UK. It’s a buzzard – they can do some damage and they look like this:

less scary eagle - buzzard

I guess it’s a less impressive version of an eagle

This appearance would be very underwhelming in a zoo. But in the car park at work? That’s a once in a lifetime experience.

I drive closer and discover that not only is there a buzzard at my place of work, it’s also just caught a crow and is pinning it to the floor. That’s what the black bits were – flappy crow wings.

I drive a bit too close and the buzzard grabs its catch and flies to the edge of the car park. It’s all good though because this gives me a better photo angle.

I pull up alongside the buzzard-crow combination and roll down the window. It’s my chance to get an exciting photo for this here blog and to make sure my wife believes me when I tell her about this. I lean over to take a picture of the situation.

I must be too clunky because I spook the buzzard. It grabs it’s prey and takes off. But it only has a loose grip and the crow, which had been acting very dead until this point, suddenly springs into life.

It flies away, almost into my car window, but eventually to safety. I buzz the window back up as quick as I can because I don’t want either a crow or a buzzard in my car.

And that’s really the end of that adventure.

I broke the Attenborough rule in a big way – but I did it accidentally. I think that’s the best reason to break it. I was just trying to take a picture and suddenly I save a bird’s life.

That might sound pretty good on paper, but there is a chance that both birds are dead now. Maybe the crow had suffered fatal wounds and maybe the buzzard died of starvation. I guess those hypotheticals are part of the reason the rule exists.

Sorry for breaking your law, David.

At least you guys all know what I did now – maybe you can be the bigger person if you ever have a weird urban wildlife experience.

The Attenborough rule applies even in car parks.

The worst thing about all this is that I didn’t even get a good photo. So I’ll have to console myself with the most amazing bird dances out there:

funky bird dance

crazy bird


Happy double post Friday everybody!