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– The secrets of the birds

June 25, 2013

monkey and sofia blog the secrets of the birds headermonkey and sofia blog the secrets of the birds

I wouldn’t have said that I was any kind of bird lover but have noticed that they do seem to crop up a fair amount in these blogs, maybe they have become secretly or subconsciously significant to me. Plainly it has to do with living here because there are only us and the birds.  It’s true there are other creatures around here, like wild boar and deer, mongoose and genets, some of which we occasionally see, mostly the deer but not the others so much.  They all seem to roam on to our land and then roam on, I don’t know where they live but people say they move along the valley bottom and live there only coming up to find food when there’s none down there.  The birds though are different.  I have started to think that some of them live here, that these are their trees and they fly around this patch and roost in the pines or wherever at night time.  It’s really lovely of a summer evening to be outside at twilight and hear them settling down, calling to each other and sounding different from how they do the rest of the day.  It might be just my feeling but the birds seem to have a pattern to their days and maybe even their year.  Definitely some of them are more in evidence at particular times of the year than others, although the idea of birds having some sort of routine might just be me trying to make some sense or order out of the lives of the wild creatures. But the array of tiny birds, some of which nested in our boxes, and were around earlier in the spring and very vociferous about their comings and goings, then just disappeared overnight, the parent birds, the babies, and all the others, we noticed then how quiet it had become around the porch where all that noise had been.  I imagine they knew the horrible heat was about to arrive so took themselves off to some cooler spot, maybe in another country even.

The birds which are still here are down below us in the shade of the valley and in the tops of the trees down there.  We can still hear them but they are quieter and distant, apart from at dawn or twilight.  Our rural silence of early morning is interrupted by just one or two birds calling to each other, then gradually other birds join in and the dawn is filled with birdsong.  It’s really something to be able to listen from our bed when the fly screens cover the open windows, hearing the intimate calls in the semi darkness.  It is beautiful.  It’s like the reverse of listening to them in the evening when they are settling down in their roosts.

During the heat of summer days, at siesta time in the afternoon, the birds are silent.  They too are finding the heat too much.  It’s interesting that our patterns overlap as they seem to.  Us and the birds, enjoying the cool mornings and the closing down for the afternoons, maybe it’s a comfort to know we share habits as well as habitat.  Are we becoming more like the birds, I wonder?  Maybe we are, they certainly seem to have the whole thing in hand, life that is.  While their supreme ease at living make our attempts seem lumpen with effort and intent.  I think that their relationship to the place is always going to be richer than ours, because they occupy somewhere we can’t.  We are earth-bound and they are able to fly, to see everywhere we can’t, and feel the wind in their feathers.

It’s early evening now on the first of the really hot days of summer and the bee eaters are coming up from the river, warbling their special song and wheeling as fast as swallows.  We can see flashes of their bright blue and orange feathers catching the sun as it sinks to a more acceptable and less intense place in the sky.  I love it, sharing our life here with the birds, I just wish I didn’t feel impelled to make sense of everything, to try and understand why the birds do as they do.  I never seem to learn that it’s fine not to have all the answers and that I’d be putting my brain to better use just trying to enjoy the birds for what they are and what they bring to our lives.

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