The Birds in our Garden

We know that nature is a cure. We live in uncertain times that are very difficult. Many people are dying every day. They are someone’s loved ones. It is very difficult for people, often overworked, in care homes and the NHS and distressing for them to constantly endure this day in day out.

Humans are animals who need each other. We are very social beings. We need to touch, to hug, embrace and kiss. At the moment many of us communicate and see each other remotely. But, sadly, we cannot touch or hug. We also need to laugh. The latter is something we can certainly do plenty of. It is a great release. Technology such as Zoom enables people to make visual contact. WhatsApp enables people in our road to function as a social and caring community as never before. We have become closer; we have got to know each other far better. We help each other out in all kinds of ways. It is wonderful to have such devices. Despite all this, the fact remains that it is a very strange time in which we are unable to do many things that define us as a species. And we need solace. This is where nature can help. There is nothing more beautiful than a tree in the snow.

Every morning when I get up, the first thing I see is a beech tree.

Just looking out of the window at trees and birds enhances our wellbeing and raises our spirits. Even better is to be out there with them.  

Blue Tits are a garden favourite. They are one of the easiest garden birds to attract to your garden, and they are frequent peanut feeders. They are acrobatic, inquisitive and colourful.

Source unrecorded – please inform me if you know.

As I look out of the bedroom window I see Blue Tits eating from our bird feeders on the old gnarled pear tree.

Alas, these birds are very quick to detect my presence, however discrete, and they may fly away. Hence the difficulty of taking bird photographs.

I managed to take photograph this Blue Tit before it flew away.

There can be as many as a dozen Blue Tits flying about our garden. And soon Blackbirds, Thrushes, Robins, Pigeons and Chaffinches join them, though these birds tend to stay on the ground. Here is a male Chaffinch, far more colourful than its female counterpart.

Male Chaffinch – Wikipedia

Sometimes I hear an Owl in the night.

Thanks to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) for the image above.

Here I just managed to catch a pigeon and a squirrel before they disappeared.

If I am not quick enough squirrels will completely empty the bird feeder. Their acrobatics are impressive. They happily eat upside down.

Soon snow drops will be in full bloom, followed by blue bells, both Spanish and native English, then primroses and daffodils.

Snowdrops and Christmas Roses

Then I shall be planting salad plants; and finally in May, I shall be putting out heritage climbing beans, squash and zucchinis. Then we shall be in full summer with grapes and other fruit.

One final thing – Bird song. Why do birds sing? This is what the RSBP say.

“Bird songs are common sounds to us all, but why do birds sing? Imagine you’re a male willow warbler, and you’ve just flown 2,400 miles (4000 km) from Africa. It’s spring, and you need to find a mate quickly. However, your home is a woodland and you’re the colour of leaves. What better way of advertising to a passing female that you are here and would make a fine father for her chicks than by having a clear, loud and recognisable song?

However, song also has another, just as important, function. Most songbirds will need to hold down a territory, so song is a way of staking ownership and telling other males to steer clear.

Technically, only the group of birds called ‘songbirds’ sing – warblers, thrushes, finches and the like. What sets songbirds apart is they actually learn, practice and perfect their songs, whereas the calls of other birds are hard-wired into them from birth, and they don’t perfect them.

As in so many things in life, there are some blurred edges to this definition of song. For example, some songbirds such as starlings and goldfinches also like to sing as a group, while our beloved robin sings all winter – males and females – in order to defend feeding territories.”

Wellbeing and health are what matter most. Above a basic level, wellbeing has little to do with wealth. According to Fast Company, it has much it has more to do with social progressThe ten countries with the highest wellbeing have shown that economic measures of success, such as gross domestic product (GDP), have little to do with wellbeing. So we should not assess a country by its GDP? tells you about the level of economic activity, but not necessarily whether nations are bettering people’s lives.

Perhaps the numerous lockdowns over the past year have prompted many of us to pause in our busy lives and re-connect with nature. I am fortunate in having a garden and nearby countryside to enjoy. Feeding the birds and watching their activities in our garden has been a source of delight and solace, even on grey winter days.

If you love birds, do support The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

I am an author, writer and speaker. In normal times, I give participative talks in communities, universities, schools and at conferences. My latest book The 21st Century Revolution – A Call to Greatness was Oxford Alumni Book of the Month for November 2016. Professor Katherine J. Willis, CBE, Principal of St Edmund Hall and Professor of Biodiversity, Department Zoology, University of Oxford said “I am greatly enjoying it; you write beautifully”. I update the book through my Blog which includes many other topics.

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