Boy rears baby starling by hand as he shields from Covid-19

A boy who raised a baby starling during lockdown has been thanked for his brilliant efforts by the RSPB.

Dylan Simpson, five, reared the baby bird named Jack while he was shielding during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RSPB heard about Dylan’s efforts and sent him a gift through the post to say thank you for all the care he gave to his feathered friends.

Mum Sarah filmed the bird enthusiast opening the present – which included a starling pin badge, some copies of the RSPB magazine and a note thanking Dylan for all his hard work and care in looking after Jack.

She said: “Dylan loves his gift from the RSPB, especially the pin badge.

“I’m very proud of him.”

The family found the baby starling in a bedroom in their home.

Animal lover Dylan immediately became attached to Jack, using his home learning time to research starlings and how to look after them.

After five weeks, the family released the bird into their back garden where he hung around for a few days before flying off.

Sarah said: “We have a lot of bird nests around our house anyway and we could hear something, but thought it would be from one of the nests outside.

“My daughter went upstairs to check and came back with this tiny starling in her hand. She passed it over to me and immediately Dylan wanted to hold him and fuss him.

“It’s been really good for Dylan during the pandemic.

“He has respiratory problems so has been shielding since March – he’s only left the house a couple of times since then.

“Raising Jack, along with learning about him, has really helped focus his mind on something and distracted him from the situation.”

Dylan now wants an aviary in the garden to help other birds he finds.

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director for Children and Young People’s Service, said: “Having Dylan’s achievements recognised on a wider scale is testament to his hard work and clearly caring nature.

“In North Yorkshire, we’ve seen examples all over of children and teachers embracing creative ways of learning during the Covid-19 pandemic – incorporating kindness, understanding and new ways of learning.

“It’s been a brilliant effort across the board.”

Martin Fowlie from the RSPB said: “Our wildlife needs all the help it can get, so when we saw the amazing story of Dylan and his adopted starling we wanted to say thank you for his brilliant work saving nature.

“Lots of people have found solace in nature during lockdown, but Dylan has taken things one step further, and we hope his love of birds continues.”