International Birdsong Day

The RSPB has released a 2.5min single ‘Let Nature Sing’ of birdsong accompanied by a video of bird silhouettes done as shadow hand puppets . . . amazing work!

Apparently the single had reached #11 in the singles charts yesterday afternoon, so it might be in the top 10 by the time International Birdsong Day (today, the 5th, first Sunday of May) rolls around.

I was actually casting around in increasingly desperate circles to think of a topic for today’s diary entry, so news of the birdsong single and the eponymous day (invented in the late 1980s, so the story goes, by UK environmentalist and broadcaster Chris Baines who invited his friends to his birthday party in Birmingham at 4am so they could all enjoy the dawn chorus together) couldn’t have come in at a more opportune time.

Apparently 44 million birds have disappeared from these isles since 1966 (I’m assuming that this is in addition to otherwise natural attrition, of course, such that there must have been 44 million more birds in these skies 60 years ago than there are today). That seems really dramatic, doesn’t it!

We hadn’t thought that we’re actually doing our bit on behalf of bird life, but extensive tree and hedge cover seems to have brought both birds and their songs to our doorstep over the past decade, to our immense delight.

Incidentally, Carrie reminds me that this past week was National Gardening Week, finishing today. A happy overlap then, to accommodate both birds and plants in the garden during the same celebratory time. I wonder when International Insect Day might occur — bemused searching in Google reveals that we here in the UK celebrate National Insect Week biennially during the last week of June, but that since the last celebration was in 2018, we’ll have to wait for 2020 to appreciate, collectively, the presence of insects among us. I presume that the date was chosen particularly because of the prevalence of open blossoms at that time which makes insect (pollinating ones anyway) observation that much more convenient.

Well, I think for today then, I shall work carefully and diligently in the outside herb bed, trying to get it nice and ready for new seedlings, nurturing the few mint plants that haven’t been suffocated out by the nettles, and diligently planting our sprouting oca tubers in a protected zone where Gordon the guinea fowl won’t try to make his dust bath. While I’m angrily eliminating weeds and getting the topsoil ready for new plants, I’ll keep my eyes and ears alert for the birds, who will doubtless calm me down with their presence, and then perhaps we’ll sit on our garden swing and just relax, listening to the sounds around us. Sounds like a great Sunday afternoon plan!

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