Published by Simon Brown

Categorised in Health & Wellbeing

The lovely thing about cultivating a garden is that it’s not just about the vegetables and flowers, the trees and the shrubs (lovely though they are). It’s also about life of the feathered variety too.

For years my mum put nut feeders up on a bird table in front of the kitchen window and I carried on where she left off, adding seed feeders and coconut shells filled with lard. So, we’ve always had our finches, tits, robins, and sparrows flitting back and forth across the garden from the safety of the shrubbery to the feeders.

As I’ve been digging the beds, feeding the soil, pulling out weeds and putting in more plants for the bees and pollinating insects, I’ve noticed that our birdlife has begun to increase too. Better soil means more worms and more plants means more insects – all tasty snacks for the birds.

We now have a resident blackbird and a thrush, the latter particularly welcome for the way it feeds on the snails that would otherwise be tucking into my vegetables at any opportunity.  A thrush on snail patrol is an important ally for the gardener.

The last month has been a particularly lovely time for birdlife, as our feathered friends have been busy building nests and feeding their young. The blackbird has been patrolling the lawn, pecking insistently at the grass and moss to winkle our worms and other tasty morsels, then disappearing into the hedge to offload his hard won feast into hungry beaks.

The thrush has been scuffling about in the flower beds, impatiently tossing aside the dead leaves and twigs with her beak to get at the grubs underneath, until her beak too is full and she flies off into next door’s trees with her loot.

The piece de resistance came this morning when Mr Woodpecker turned up on the peanut feeder with fluffy Baby Woodpecker in tow. As Dad attacked the peanuts with his long, strong beak, the youngster constantly looked around him, with the gormless look of a hatchling that isn’t quite sure what’s going on yet and is still trying to work out this strange new environment. Suddenly, with some signal between them that my human sense can’t detect, off they fly together. 

I read somewhere many years ago that taking an interest in birdlife is a sure sign of middle age. Well, guilty m’lud.  

It may well be a feature of age but I think that being a carer also has something to do with it. Life is so busy that I now appreciate it when I get a spare ten minutes to look out of the window and watch what’s going on in the garden. It’s gentle and relaxing and helps me remember how lucky I am to have that view on my doorstep.

In amongst the demands and responsibilities of caring, it’s a precious thing to have and I no longer take it for granted.

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