Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The curious accessories of Spring, tra-la!

I’m curious to know whether or not Goldfinches migrate, as they seem to return to the olive tree on my terrace every year. Last year the tree was used twice by the birds. It’s quite a responsibility having a nest of vulnerable little chicks just outside your window, especially if there are nasty magpies and crows about – but two successive broods of tiny chirping balls of fluff in one season can make life positively stressful.

Although one baby bird stayed in the nest until it grew so fat it was almost bigger than its temporary home, the most nail-biting time was when the chicks first left the nest. Most alarming of all, was the moment when one of the tiny birds, newly out of its nest and still being trained to fly, got stuck in a corner, behind a big plant pot - unable to fly upwards and over the glass screening around the terrace.

Several other birds (possibly parents, or from the same family) were equally distressed, but also unable to coax the bird out from behind the pot. It was particularly worrying that the apartment next door had a couple of cats. Eventually, the poor little bird was unceremoniously prodded to safety with the help of a long bamboo stick and then carefully lifted up and thrown into the air, whereupon a protective flock of fellow finches flew out of nowhere to surround the bird and encourage it on its way – an extraordinary act of nature and love that brought spontaneous tears of joy to my eyes.

The little creature flapped furiously and flew upwards and upwards… then faltered and crash-landed, inelegantly, in an even more confined space between a glass screen and window on a balcony of the building opposite. The concierge was duly called. The neighbours were away for the weekend, so there was nothing that could be done – apart from fretting. The amazing thing was that at least one bird kept watch over the little chick the whole time it was stuck in the crevice. The poor bird must have eventually regained enough strength to fly off, as at some stage during the following day, it simply disappeared.

I love this time of year: Nature’s so fascinating and it’s incredibly uplifting to hear the birds singing, especially in the early evening when, until very recently, it was totally dark. Goldfinches also have a rather quirky and amusing, yet strangely beautiful, way of flying – like they’re swimming the breaststroke in mid-air and then suddenly stopping and starting again...

If you’re also a bird lover, you might like the Hatastic Easter Bonnet that’s available at ShopCurious. Crafted from recycled bits and pieces, rather like a genuine bird’s nest, this unique creation has also been lovingly handmade. A totally original hat to wear to a Spring wedding or to Summer events, this eco-friendly fascinator is simply ‘eggcellent’. Just make sure there aren’t any broody birds around.


worm said...

how lucky that as well as happy birds, you also have a successful olive tree! My few olive tree growing experiments have all ended in miserable failure :(

Jan said...

Their early morning 'chatter' is definitely on the increase.
Spring has finally sprung ! (possibly) :)

janettaylor said...

Finally, SPRING!

Susan said...

Worm, though my olive tree thrives, it's only sprung olives one year out of three - and those were disgustingly bitter (stomach curdling in fact).

Jan, don't magpies chatter? But as you mention it, the repartee between 'my birds' is a cross between singing and tweeting... heaven forbid, maybe that's an idea too far!