I Brake for Baby Birds

July 25, 2017

It’s that time of year when the hedges are full of recently fledged birds, all a bit, well, crap, in the endearing way baby birds are. Which is fine, until they launch themselves in front of your bike and, like learner drivers, prove to be a bit slower off the mark than you were quite expecting. Twice now I’ve had to jam on the brakes to prevent myself from rear-ending a low-flying beginner that hadn’t quite made it to safety.

Sadly, it also means too many sad little flattened feathery corpses on the road. so far I’ve seen an oystercatcher, a rook, several blackbirds, a goldfinch, a yellowhammer and any number of unidentifiable little brown jobs (I really should probably get back to filling in Splatter Project reports).

It was cheering, though, to pass a hedgeful of a flock of something – hard to tell what when you’re zooming past. One went, and then another, and then they were all pouring out of the hedge to get away, hunners of them, chirping as they flew, setting the whole field beside me in motion. It was a laugh-out-loud kind of sight, the way they just kept coming as I passed, as if the hedge itself were taking flight.

And not a one ended up under anyone’s wheels, which counts as a bonus at this time of year.


Are you Paying Attention?

June 11, 2011

Because she is

The first batch of swallows has emerged from the shed and, sensibly, taken to perching high on a wire out of reach of the cat’s claws.

The other half was not around today so my little camera’s pics will have to do in all their blurry, dark, taken-through-a-window glory.

That said, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good…

More Bird Brains

July 8, 2009

The conjunction of a faster-than-normal bike and the proliferation of slower-than-normal crap baby birds may be a bit of a problem. I was hurrying home in the rain the other day, in an attempt to get there before I was utterly and entirely soaked through* while a baby blackbird crouched in the road ahead of me trying to decide whether to fly left or right to get away from the scary shiny thing approaching it at speed. At the last possible moment, it chose wrongly. It was only due to the efficiency of my shiny new brakes that there wasn’t julienned baby blackbird all over the road. I do wish they wouldn’t do that. I’d hate to get feathers on my shiny new wheels

Don’t worry, slow cycling will recommence when the novelty wears off (and when these guys stop setting such a bad example – I’m easily led). Until then I’ll continue to set land-speed records for the fetching of a newspaper from Papershop Village (senior class), and the baby birds will just have to learn how to get out of the way. Fifty minutes to beat, and counting.

*I failed

Seconds Out, Round Two

July 28, 2008

Readers beware, this blog may be about to take another turn for the sentimental: our local swallows have hatched a second brood and we shall undoubtedly be inundated with baby birds shortly.

Last time it took less than three weeks to go from this

Swallow's Egg

to this

Young Swallows - 2

Let’s see how long it takes them this time.

Like a Bird on the Wire

June 23, 2008

Chilling out after the paper run this morning, with a cup of coffee and a couple of slices of cinnamon raisin toast with extra butter*, I noticed the swallow family, supplemented by a spotted flycatcher and a pied wagtail, arranged on the telephone wires. Just as I was wondering what tune they would play if they were to be transcribed onto sheet music, they all disappeared in a flash. A sparrowhawk had flown over and was immediately surrounded by twittering maddened birds. A few seconds later and it had been seen off. Swallows one, sparrowhawk nil. Or was it? Because when they first emerged a couple of days ago, there were definitely six little swallows disporting themselves on the wires. And now there are only five…

*You know, I’m doing all this exercise and yet I’m piling on the pounds. Just can’t work out why that should be…


June 18, 2008

Look, I know this blog is going soft, and I’m sorry, but I can’t help it. Going out to get my bike for the paper run this morning, I noticed that two of our baby swallows had ventured out of their nest and were sitting on the rafters of our outbuilding, no doubt planning where to plant their next poo. And yesterday we spent a good fifteen minutes watching a young dipper bouncing around the rocks in the stream. In fact the whole countryside around us is full of ever so slightly crap, fluffy young birds who don’t know the meaning of fear. It’s just too hard to keep up urban standards of disgruntlement with this level of cute going on around us…

The other half took piccies, but you’ll have to wait until we get broadband before you can see them. That should be good for a rant or two, at least.

Lookin’ Out my Back Door

June 2, 2008

Well, front door actually because we don’t have a back door…

When it’s sunny, or at least not raining, we’re spending a lot of time sitting on our front step, watching the soap opera of rural life unfold. Not the people – we don’t see many people, at least not out of their cars – but all the feathery, furry, creeping, buzzing other things out there. And particularly the birds who have been shagging for Britain and are now dealing with the consequences. We’ve already got a family of coal tits going beserk in the garden wall every time someone goes past, and a family of jackdaws being raised in the outbuilding’s chimney. A spotted flycatcher has moved into a hole in the wall, although it doesn’t appear to be making much inroads into the local fly population. The house martins were looking assessingly at our eaves the other day, as though measuring up for curtains. And the swallows have nested in our bike shed – going in to get my bike the other day, I found four tiny empty eggshells as light and insubstantial as paper. It’s always amazing that something as small and airborne as a swallow could lay four eggs at all, and then that something as relatively large as a baby swallow could emerge out of the result, but there you go.

At least, I hope they have emerged. And not, say, been eaten. For the other thing we’ve been seeing, as I’ve already mentioned, are red squirrels. And red squirrels, I have recently learned, are not quite all the fluffy-eared innocents that their PR makes them out to be and are quite partial to the odd bird egg or two if they can get their cute little paws on them. Never trust a redhead, that’s what I say… Meanwhile I’ll be listening out for any little peeps from the swallow’s nest. And as soon as we’ve got an internet connection that’s usable, pictures will follow.