‘My goodness, a bird fell on my head” - woman’s shock at rare Corncrake find

Lesley Saville at the spot where the corncrake landed on her headPicture: Anthony Carroll

Lesley Saville at the spot where the corncrake landed on her headPicture: Anthony Carroll - Credit: Archant

Twitchers travel far and wide to try and glimpse the rare corncrake.

But for Lesley Saville all she had to go was stand in a Great Yarmouth street as one fell on her head.

Ms Saville was on a break from her business by Great Yarmouth Town hall on Wednesday afternoon when the corncrake, of which there are only 1,000 males in the country, landed on her head.

After making sure the bird was safe Ms Saville contacted Dan Goldsmith of Yarmouth-based Marine and Wildlife Rescue.

Mr Goldsmith then got in touch with Pensthorpe Natural Park near Fakenham, which now has the rare un-sexed bird and hopes to release it back into the wild.

The corncrake that landed on Lesley Saville's headPicture: Dan Goldsmith

The corncrake that landed on Lesley Saville's headPicture: Dan Goldsmith - Credit: Archant


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Ms Saville, 62 and who runs the Natural Healing Centre in Victoria Arcade, feels it was fate that the bird landed on her safely as she had been drawn to a shop window at the exact moment it plummeted to the ground.

She said: “In the second I approached the window, my goodness, a bird fell on my head. It did not hurt, it did not scare me, or make me jump.

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“It was soft and fluffy. As soon as I tilted forward it fell into my hands and I caught it.

“I just held it to me to comfort it and I looked around to see if there was a mummy bird or siblings and there was absolutely nothing.

Lesley SavillePicture: Anthony Carroll

Lesley SavillePicture: Anthony Carroll - Credit: Archant

“Something meant I had to approach that shop in that second.”

One of Ms Saville’s clients helped look after the corncrake by getting it some maggots to eat and on Thursday Mr Goldsmith collected it.

Ms Saville said: “It is a wonderful and beautiful bird and I feel honoured to have been part of its life for a few hours.”

Mr Goldsmith said one theory about the bird is that it may have hit the Town Hall before landing on Ms Saville’s head.

The corncrake that landed on Lesley Saville's headPicture: Dan Goldsmith

The corncrake that landed on Lesley Saville's headPicture: Dan Goldsmith - Credit: Archant

Corncrakes are summer visitors and migrate to Africa for the winter. The RSPB says there are 1,017 calling males in this country.

They are very secretive, spend most time hidden in tall vegetation and have a rasping call.

The species is on a red list of birds of high conservation concern.

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