On a daily basis, birds that are defined as ‘common’ are often overlooked. However, as you immerse yourself in the world of birds and birding you begin to recognise the beauty in the everyday birds as well as the rarer and scarcer species. I mentioned the Dunnock in my previous post but would argue that all our ‘garden birds’ fall into this category too.
Recently I’ve been spending more time observing the birds that visit my garden feeders. This highly accessible way to engage with birding happens when I’m in my kitchen as all the windows face out onto the back garden. I’m usually occupied with a kitchen-related task but as soon as a bird pops onto the feeder I am invariably distracted from the task at hand as I observe the bird in question.
Through these observations I have been able to deduce who are the regular visitors to the garden. Take ‘Colin’ the Coal Tit for example, who heralds his arrival with a couple of piping ‘tweee’ calls before zipping in with a flash of wing-bars and taking a sunflower seed over to the fence for dismantling. There’s also the pair of Collared Doves, one usually on the fence as the other recces for any scraps on the grass. On a colder day I know that the visitors are likely to be more varied and this can lead to dramatic lengthening of the washing-up process.
These recurring visitors and moments generate a sense of consistency and safety, two words that were recurring themes of my counselling sessions. I know that they are there, even when I’m not there and this in itself is a comforting thought. Nature and birding in particular, offers us a great deal of stability. In the life of someone living with daily mental-health issues this can act as an anchor to the present and a veritable blessing in disguise.