Last week we went to visit Bert's Aunt Lizzie who had been in hospital. She was in a cranky mood, very cross with the magpies and the crows that were taking the food from her bird table. For Lizzie's birdy feasts are for pretty little songbirds, the blue bonnets and the finches, not the great greedy members of the corvidae family. She said to Bert that she wished he'd brought his gun, as if he was in the habit of travelling around with a loaded shotgun ever ready to blast crows and magpies off old ladies' bird tables. She went on at length about how much she hated magpies because of the damage they do to smaller birds. I pointed out how domestic cats are very hard on birds and she wouldn't want Bert to shoot them, would she? Lizzie is very fond of cats. I'm afraid that she is, like her sister Pearlie before her, very particular about the kind of birds she likes.
Pearlie hated magpies, buzzards and pigeons. She loved blue bonnets (tits), robins and swallows. She looked forward to the swallows yearly arrival and there is a piece of family folk lore that has her saying,
I wish the wee boys were here. It'll be great when they come.
There has been swallows nesting in the sheds for as long as anyone can remember but this year there are none. They were spotted briefly but did not stay. Pearlie would have been disappointed.
Evie is a keen observer of birds. She is always pointing them out to me and is good at identifying them. She spotted one in the car park outside her nursery school and asked me,
Granny! Do you see that bird? Do you know what it is?
I wasn't sure and answered,
I think it's a starling.
No Granny! It's a jackdaw.
As Les says,
Every day is a learning day.