Birds of a feather

In that strange way that sometimes happens, various threads occurring in my life have all come together in a fortuitous coincidence.

A slow burning, ever increasing interest in birdwatching / bird identification combined with an increased opportunity to observe the same place (my garden!) has collided with the current need to remain self isolated at home.

Birds of a feather

Consequently my family and I are trying to become more observant and seeing what is going on under our noses. It is easy to not pay attention but if you focus, even just for 10 minutes, you will see many different birds and behaviours.

There are the usual garden regulars – the robin, inquisitive with head cocked to one side, often following human activity to see if it can exploit a new food opportunity. The noisiest and possibly smallest resident is the wren with it’s tail sticking up as it trills away.

There are blackbirds, who seem to love to fly fast and low from point to point, blue tits nesting in the bird box, flying in and out at speed and keeping an eye on everything around (and they just look so crazy and cute at the same time).

At the moment we can hear woodpeckers in the trees nearby, marking territory and communicating, the buzzards are enjoying the clear warm days to soar and glide over the valley and chaffinches are darting about fighting or flirting on the wing.

Most birds (especially the small garden ones) seem to possess a sense of hyper vigilance, often the difference for them between life and death and yet being near them is incredibly calming and relaxing, necessitating as it does a peaceful stillness that is not usual for most humans.

More than ever, at this time of unprecedented anxiety across the world, we need things that can help ground us and the natural world is just outside our window.

Apparently in amongst the multitude of activities people are undertaking while having to stay indoors birdwatching has taken off (unintentional pun!). In Italy, Spain and the UK various ways of sharing your observations have come about on social media, my favourite being ‘fantasy birding in quarantine’ which has a complex point scoring system and prizes.

Spring is a particularly good time of year to see birds in transit, arriving, leaving and just passing through with daily counts of 50 different species not unheard of!

Birdwatching (or twitching as it’s known) may not have a very cool image but don’t worry about that – immerse yourself in their world for even a brief spell and you may just become hooked. If not, there are plenty of other distractions – have I ever told you about my fascination with sticks and stones….


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