Being with Birds

A picture of a robin in our garden, taken several years ago

Interrupting this blog to go feed the little – and not so little – feathered guys. And possibly one small squirrel…

I have no pets, save the wild birds. They aren’t quite as cosseted as the cats – and one of the rats – were. Thanks to the Beloved, who kept feeding them when I was poorly – and my friend L., whose example I followed when I first began to feed them, my enjoyment of watching them through the kitchen window has only flagged when I was ill. This, despite having a cat(s).

Cat & pyjamas: back garden, three or more years ago

Al E. Cat (shown above), along with Jake, was one of the most persistent and successful of hunters. Rest in Peace, dear cat people I have loved. I hope there is lots of tuna, and small rodents, wherever it is you are.

Feeding the birds, and how I talk about it – not just to the Beloved, but also to the birds themselves – is a good indicator for how my mental health is. If I’m feeding them, and talking to them, things are (probably) ok. The only reason birds haven’t featured on this blog, this month, is that I still can’t find my camera, and the camera on my phone is not very good. Hence, although we have a robin who is a semi-regular at the fatball feeder, the robin photo is most probably that of a different bird. Without looking it up, I don’t know how long a robin can live.

A reasonably chuffed looking blackbird: Doncaster, June 2015

I built a relationship of sorts with the blackbird shown above: that was, if he realised I was putting out food, he would find someplace close to perch. Plus, he didn’t mind if I watched him eat. Blackbird is probably my favourite garden bird: he’s handsome, and smart with it. I have seen one, and possibly its overgrown adolescent child, near the feeder, if not actually on it, earlier this month.

If sparrows could speak, and be heard through the kitchen window, they’d probably ask me to stop praising them when they eat, and encouraging them to eat. They are our most regular customers, but we have seen bluetits, a great tit, collared doves, and at least two wood pigeons.

Blackbird, July 2015.

Sadly, I’m writing this inside, rather than in the garden. One of the pluses, for me, of feeding the garden birds is it means I go outside at least once a day. A persistent non-Covid cough, plus the lockdown rules, and the reasons behind them, means I’ve spent a lot of my post-hospital time indoors. Which would be fine, if I had spent more time on my current Work in Progress (WIP). Of course, I didn’t. It’s an urban fantasy, and I’ve sadly become a bit unstuck over how to portray the Sidhe (faeries).

I’m also supposed to be doing some weeding, planting, and general tidy up in the garden. I started great guns, but my interest apparently soon faded. Mind you, it wasn’t helped by the fact we’ve had so much rain.

I have been out more recently, in two different parks. The trees were a glory to see, and I also got to see two collared doves have a disagreement in one park, as well as wood pigeons, starlings, blackbirds, and even squirrels. The other park has a large aviary full of parakeets, and – I think – cockatiels. I even talked to the park blackbirds, which may be an eccentricity too far.

I hope you get out to see your favourite birds, and catch sight of some wonderful trees, this holiday weekend. Whether that be in a wood, a park, or your own garden; and whether you are enjoying Spring Bank, or Memorial Day, I wish you a blessed Sunday, and Monday.

The light and swans on the water

About Sheila N

Enough about me. Art by Tom Brown.
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