The birds of lockdown
“Chirp chirp chirp!” says the industrious little sparrow, flying between the bushes and trees in the back yards and alleyway behind where we live. “Chirp chirp!” The resurgence of nature was a theme picked up on the world over during lockdown. Part of it real. Part of it a perceptual result of people spending more time looking out of their home windows during the day and hearing wildlife against a background of reduced traffic noise.
One of the earliest signs for us was coming across a lovely little wagtail on the pavement down a side street. There it was, all black and white miniature, hanging out apparently without a care in the world. I like wagtails. Something about the eponymous wag of their tail as they land just seems uplifting.
Probably the most joy we've received was from the regular and occasional visitors to the large beech tree outside our front window. We live in the top floor apartment of a large old house opposite a green space in Cardiff so our windows give a view straight into the branches making up the canopy of the tree. At the right time of year, this tree is on the regular route of a flock of starlings, who hang out noisily for awhile mid-morning while we have our coffee on the weekend, before rising as one to move to the next spot on their busy schedule. However, I'd never paid much attention to the other visitors to the tree.
During lockdown, we've come to recognise and delight in the melodious warbling of the local blackbird. The darting back and forth and the trills of the industrious blue tit. The infrequent visit of the Pica pica (magpies) and even rarer spotting of a jay. Most of all, we've loved seeing the courtship of a wonderful pair of collared doves who designated one of the branches as their place, softly cooing and preening each other, mating, chasing off magpies.
Throw in with this the regular birds of the local park and waterfowl of the nearby lake and you have a veritable ornithological buffet near us. Since lockdown started, the birds that most caught my attention away from our apartment have been a song thrush in the park singing with a little more versatility in its repeated phrases than our more regular blackbird, a heron which likes to hang out in the brook downstream of the lake, and the heretofore unnoticed by me predominance of jackdaws over carrion crows in this party of the city.
As I write this I'm looking out the window at the tree, wondering where the doves have gone. I've not had time for them over the last month as I've adjusted to fatherhood and Wales has increasingly relaxed lockdown. That's a shame as I really enjoyed getting to know our local birds so I must find time to take this into the future. I probably won't become a serious twitcher but it's been nice to notice and find space in my life for the wildlife that shares the urban environment I live in.
A quick shout out to tmo – thanks for the positive feedback on a couple of my posts (27 July and 26 June) – it's always a boost when someone enjoys your writing! Good luck with your continued tech projects as well!
Entry 21 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!