THEY say things happen in threes and in the last month I have had three feathered causalities. The first was a pigeon, found on the lawn by one of my neighbours.

A lot of feathers had been lost, we suspect that a cat may have been involved and sadly he did not make it through the first night.

The second was a small sparrow, delivered to me this time, by my own cat.

Now this little chap, having just been plucked from the jaws of death, was understandably a wee bit shaken at first, however, it only took a minute or two for him to regain his composure and fly away to the top of the tree in next door’s garden. I don’t think that he could ever be quite so lucky again.

The third casualty was also brought by a neighbour. A tiny scrap of a bird, not yet fully fledged, he was found all alone on the garden path.

No parent birds nearby, no nest in the vicinity from which he could have fallen. Dropped by a predator perhaps? We weren’t sure, but we did think that he was possibly a baby house martin.

I had never hand fed such a tiny baby bird before, nor had one so reluctant to open his beak to take food, but we persevered. As the hours ticked by, I became impressed with his tenacity.

I really wanted to take a photograph, but by the same token, I didn’t want to tempt fate either. Miraculously, he made it through Thursday night.

Friday: Feeding continued every two hours, a mixture of cat meat mashed with egg food, (a proprietary brand, manufactured specifically for rearing young birds), administered by tweezers. Still experiencing issues opening his beak, but once he felt food, or drops of water from a syringe in his mouth, he began to swallow.

Saturday: Still here, noticeably bigger, a lot more feathers and eyes now completely open. Definitely a baby house martin. Still experiencing a few feeding issues, but it is becoming easier to persuade him to open his beak. Eight feeds today, with the last one at 9.30pm. Checking before going to bed myself, I could hear him twittering softly to himself in the darkness.

Sunday: He has grown yet again and is now “tweeting” properly. He voluntarily opened his mouth when I picked him up this morning and by bedtime was actively and enthusiastically taking food from the tweezers. I finally feel that it is safe to take my first photograph

Monday: He is now beginning to look like a proper fledgling. Feeding is much less of a chore and still approximately every one and a half hours. Pip (yes, he now has a name), is fast becoming more independent, mouth opening wide in anticipation for food, without any prompting and he no longer has to be picked up in order to be fed. More photographs taken.

Tuesday: Developing so quickly, Pip is now moving around his little ice-cream tub with ease, is very vocal and demanding food every hour, on the hour. I do feel that now, he really has a fighting chance.

But house martins are social birds and with me it would be a solitary existence. I also know that in order for him to thrive, he needs a high protein diet consisting of live food such as wax worms, mini meal worms and crickets, (heads and legs removed, of course), and these are all things that I cannot provide.

So, on that Tuesday afternoon, I took Pip to the wonderful Wildlife Haven in Thirsk in order for him to continue his development in the hands of the experts.

Here, he was placed in an incubator with other baby house martins, so once again he had the companionship of his own kind.

When the time is right, he will also now have a safe place where he can practice his flying skills and learn how to catch insects on the wing.

Then, with a bit of luck, by autumn he will be strong enough to migrate south with his new found friends.

Good luck little Pip Squeak and remember, stay safe and fly high.