My friends the birds

Tuesday provided my first Brimstones of the year but was otherwise the opposite of profitable. Wednesday was a day of a singing Blackcap, a Raven and a decent profit.

On the way to the races the conversation turned somewhat surreal. ‘If you could befriend a bird which would then help you through life, which would you choose?

Ideas ranged from ‘Wigeon – to keep the grass short’ to ‘A Puffin because they are fun and would crack open walnuts for me’.

Perhaps Eider for their suggestive calls and for their down, or a hummingbird to lull one to sleep with its whirring wings or to be a personal fan in hot weather.

What are your ideas?

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31 Replies to “My friends the birds”

  1. A dunnock...for its ability to have an amazing sex life despite very modest physical looks.

    1. From a Dunnock's point of view they may have the most amazing drop-dead-sexy looks!

  2. I might choose a Turnstone which would be able to find things in the mess on my office floor that I call my filing system.

  3. For me it's an inseparable duo. The Rook and Jackdaw. The reason being is because they have already helped me through life in a massive way. It was witnessing the awesome spectacle of their winter roosting flocks that gave me my first 'Attenborough Moment'. Ive always liked Crows but the experience of seeing and hearing thousands of them in the twilight sky, blew me away. From that very special moment on, my life was changed and most certainly for the better, I became a Birder.

    1. Ross - love that story! I came on to add jackdaws as my own suggestion. Have you ever read Sylvia Bruce Wilmore Crows, Jays, Ravens and their Relatives? I think you'd enjoy it. Another commenter recommended another book on Crows recently too.

      1. Hi MK, thank you! I will certainly have a look for the Sylvia Bruce Wilmore book. I have read and very much enjoyed Corvus by Esther Woolfson. It's beautifully written and gives you a real insight into Corvid behaviour. I have just got my hands on a copy of The Crows (1978) by Franklin Coombes. I've only read the first few pages and already I can see why it has so much praise. A book I can recommend for you is Crow Country by Mark Cocker. It's a classic and essential reading. To quote the back cover 'Fabulous...Like all classic works of natural history, it is an extraordinary revelation of the riches and wonders that lie at our doorstep'.

    2. That other recommendation: Corvus (A life with birds) by Esther Woolfson. From Hugh Webster comment a few days ago. Must check it out myself.

    1. Abigail - really? It would keep me awake with its haunting quality. Good choice though.

  4. No contest- a White Tailed Eagle. Responsible for me becoming a birder, joining the RSPB and first visiting my favourite place in the world, Mull.

    1. Giles - and they could deliver the fish part of a fish supper now and again. Or the dead lamb part of a dead lamb supper.

  5. I think a songbird would be the best companion, simply for the joy encapsulated in the song. The obvious choice might be nightingale or one of the thrush family. But all things considered I think I'd settle for starling, in particular the starling(s) setting up home again in my roof.

    They do starling very well, have a half decent stab at blackbird, a head turning curlew, peewit and buzzard, (I live in a commuter village!) and a fair variety of anthropogenic sounds; phones, alarms etc.

    They would always be able to bring a smile to my face wherever I was and whatever was happening.

  6. I'll second that Giles, we are going there this summer for the third time and will be looking for eagles and also hen harriers, there are a few on Mull. Our favourite birds on our favourite island.

    1. Thanks Chris. Couldn't agree more. Saw my first HH on Mull as well. Might have put it ahead of the eagle but Trevor got there first.

  7. Raven - they have it all, intelligence, looks, longevity and the ability to communicate. Who could ask for more.

    1. Jodie - welcome! We did discuss that in our car journey. And Great Skua, Mute Swan and cackling geese along the same lines.

  8. Starling because beautiful and unique on its own but when in a flock what it can create and achieve with others of its own kind is truly astounding.

  9. A Corvid because they are beautiful, highly intelligent, bring you gifts and can help out with gardening...

  10. Jackdaws - helping me eat my chips at Lynmouth, (summer 1991), keeping me entertained of a summer evening in the beer garden of the Farmer's Arms, St David's, Pembrokeshire (late nineties and early 2000s) and hopefully helping my daughter to learn to love birds (2014 onwards, Biggleswade).

    Honourable mention to song thrush and blackbird for their lovely songs.

  11. Great question. Long - tailed Tit: always sociable, and happy to huddle together on a cold night


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