Friday 20 October 2017

Bird gets 'squatter's rights' in tractor

Home: The wagtail in its nest
Home: The wagtail in its nest

Alan O'Keeffe

A bird that laid eggs in a farmer's tractor has now been granted "squatter's rights".

A black and white wagtail liked the feel of a 1984 Massey Ferguson tractor on O'Neill's farm and she moved in under the bonnet.

She built a nest on top of the engine-block and has laid four eggs.

"She has squatter's rights now," said farmer Joe O'Neill, who runs the family farm with his uncle Paddy O'Neill in Stratford-on-Slaney in Co Wicklow.

The family contacted 'The Ray D'Arcy Show' on RTÉ Radio One yesterday and Joe told Ray about his farm's feathered mum-to-be.

Later Joe (38) told the Irish Independent his uncle Paddy had noticed grass sticking out of the side of the tractor's engine at a shed on the farm.

When he lifted the bonnet, he saw the bird's empty nest. He drove the tractor to a different shed on the farm and parked it, making sure not to disturb the nest.

When he went back to the tractor later, he found the wagtail had followed the tractor and was sitting on the nest.

When Joe and his wife Ellen checked the nest yesterday, the bird was sitting on four eggs.

"Paddy will let her stay and raise her chicks. We'll use another tractor in the meantime," Joe said.

Irish Independent

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