I am quite a fan of Simon Barnes, the Times Chief Sports Correspondent. He writes a column called 'Wild Notebook" in the Times on saturday. He also wrote a book called "How to be a Bad Birdwatcher:To the Greater Glory of Life", which I thoroughly enjoyed.
A couple of weekends ago he wrote "If your mind is tuned into birds, birds become part of your experience of almost everything. It's not a matter of obsessive looking: once you have tripped the switch, it is impossible not to see birds. You can't deactivate bird awareness."
Since reading this article I have been thinking about this alot. I have loved birds all my life but I think it was about seven years ago that I really tripped that switch as it were. I wake up I hear the swallows out on the telephone wires, the Goldfinches hovering around the feeder and the House Sparrows chattering away. I go out to the car and can hear the Oystercatchers, Gulls and Curlew down on the shore. I drive to work and I notice the large amounts of Magpie's on the roads, the Rooks, Jackdaws and Wood Pigeons feeding in the cereal fields. I notice the Swifts wheeling about the sky. I cannot get away from them and nor do I want to. I come home and take my dog Pickle out to Killard my local Nature Reserve and I see the Stonechats, I hear the Whitethroats, Dunnocks and Wrens in the hedges. I hear the Sandwich Terns calling overhead on their way either to feed or on their way back with a sandeel or two to their young in Strangford Lough. There are the Sand Martins flying low over the field of Cow Parsley feeding on the flies. Along the shoreline there are the Ringed Plovers with their new families and the Dunlin on their migratory routes north or south. Inland there are the Skylarks and Meadow Pipits both of which seem to fly up into the sky and parachute down to earth calling all the time. I look out to sea and there are Gannets flying by, quite often a bright white in the sky. There are the Manx Shearwaters, who in low winds tend to beat their wings five times then glide before beating their wings again. In higher winds they seem to oscillate up above the waves and then down gain shearing the water as they go. I wonder are they on their way back to the Copeland Islands or are they on a round about route heading to Skomer Island in North Wales. I just love birds.
I have been feeding birds for the last twenty years and have a few feeders dotted around the garden. Over this time I have become increasingly annoyed at the way one buys bird food. If you buy it in a supermarket it is usually in a flow wrapped bag which is difficult to get into, difficult to pour into feeders without spilling everywhere. What do you do if you don't use it all. Do you transfer it to another container. But it really should be so easy. I mean, it's only bird seed, it's not rocket science. It should be simple. It should be simple so that is what I am going to make it.
So remember "Tweet Your Birds well"
I would be interested in any readers feedback