Signs and Songs

blackbird cSuddenly we have clocked up a number of years living here. It is the usual mix of doing up a house and garden thing, and there has been a roof-off, hard-core building works, painting, digging and planting. There is still an endlessly depressing list to get to grips with and a reclamation yard of items that have yet to find themselves inside the house; sometimes I struggle to achieve anything ‘extra’ along with all the other things one must get done in a week, but one of the most rewarding and enchanting outcomes of making this home is the huge increase of birds that have also chosen to come share our patch with us.

Back 5 years ago, the garden consisted of a sheered boundary hedge line and scruffy grass along with a dubious kidney-shaped pond set in concrete, and well, that was it apart from the random Narnia style plastic light embedded in the middle of the lawn. Otherwise it was baron of life. We were lucky if a blue tit came to call. Now there are clouds of them along with others from their family. A robin (or is it more than one) comes and sits on my spade like a Beatrix Potter watercolour and a big fat mistle thrush has been using the same branch of the ash tree to call his soulful tune.  Blackbirds cruise the grass in numbers and have chanced the odd wren all twitching and nervous. Sparrows cluster in their millions for the chicken corn. Pied wagtails wag their tails and there are a zillion collared doves (actually the enormous thuga is a giant collard dove hotel).  Starlings jostle in argument and some green finches were dancing outside my bedroom window and amazingly, although somewhat brutishly, an enormous lesser spotted woodpecker hung from the bird feeder as viewed at close range through a murky winter frosted window at Christmas. I now love to stand quietly watching the hedge while fast little wings buzz in and out. Just gorgeous to see whoever he is swooping in with a twig or a crumpled bit of hay. Its like a Rhubarb & Custard cartoon; all throbbing and vibrant and alive. There is nothing outlandish or rare, but utterly thrilling that the garden is showing me her burgeoning health with each passing season.

I am particularly delighted as I forget to fill the bird feeders or in fact even buy the nuts to fill the feeders, so it must be a testimony to all the other things: gardening without poison, not worrying about weeds in the grand scheme and having a slowly increasing plant stock through the garden that provides berries and seeds. It’s a simple and economic policy that is rewarding as far as our native birds are concerned.

It’s hard to chose a favourite but I think, when the blackbird heralds summer or chirrups at dusk I know a simple happiness that makes me draw breath.

Heres to well thought out but lazy gardening that rewards with a dawn chorus of thriving birdies.