Saturday, 26 October 2013

At one with the birds




Out on the river the other day I saw a skein of Brent geese flying overhead, a murder of crows attacking a solitary buzzard, a murmuration of starlings alighting on the masts of a marina of yachts and a deceit of plover, peewitting on their collective unlapped wing.  It reminded me of an email I read once, which I have fished out from the depths for you to read.  It was from Tennessee and read:




I have been sitting on my balcony off my room and I wish you all could see what I am seeing.

We have a lot of bird houses, bird feeders and hanging birdbaths of all sorts hanging off the balcony and from the trees around the house. There are a pair of Bluebirds nesting on the front porch, a pair of big Redbellied Woodpeckers nesting in a tree just outside the room and two pair of Downy Woodpeckers, about twenty pair of American Goldfinch, and Hummingbirds that all hang out around my balcony.



There are four pair of Red Cardinals, three pair of Mocking Birds, Mourning Doves, Titmouse, Robins, Bluejays, Tennessee Warblers and Hawks. Thank God we have a lot of trees that attrack them. They all come back every year.

I was immediately jealous of this wealth of bird life (especially the Mourning Doves) but then thought about it for a minute and wrote back

Wot? no whipoorwills?!

here its the wading birds: curlew,peewits, redshank, greenshank, oystercatcher, snipes, whimbrel, little egrets, heron, sandpipers, turnstones, we see all of them justabout everyday, plus the kingfisher, buzzards, ; and in the woods, outside my office window, three types of woodpecker, nuthatch and treecreeper, goldfinch, blue, great, coal and long tail tits, there's a sparrowhawk who's tried to
snatch the birds from the feeders a couple of times this last week.

there's a beauty in bird names that's missing from, say, fish names . . . no-one would ever write a song about the haddock, cod or sprat.


There's a video doing the rounds of Peter Serafinowicz singing the first (and now second) pages of Morrissey's Penguin Classic Autobiography.  I would love to hear Bonnie "Prince" Billy singing lists of bird names, US and UK.

Also, talking of birds gives me an opportunity to repeat Devon Sproule and Mike O'Neil's wonderful lines from "You can't help it" on their Colours album (that's Colours, not Colors - spelt the Canadian way).
 

A plane is powerful . . .

with a noble wingspan . . .

a fine tuned rush of air . . .

that's been perfected by man . . .

but a bird is natural . . .

in the wild above . . .

and when it sings it's song . . .

we look up





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