Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Rab discovers his new nesting boxes are giving his feathered friends the bird

Rab Mcneil.
Rab Mcneil.

I have low hopes for the two birds’ nest-boxes I put up. Well, I didn’t so much put them up from scratch as restore and paint them. No signs of life yet and, by the time you read this, there certainly should have been comings and goings.

Wild or garden life is funny like that. Recently, I mentioned how you create areas or put in plants that they’re supposed to like and they just ignore them.

A letter-writer in a London newspaper amusingly reported a similar experience. Having heard many owls in his garden, he built his own nesting box then risked life and limb to climb a tall tree to fix it in position. Result: “We didn’t hear another owl for three years.”

Recently, I heard a convocation of owls shouting the odds in my garden and surrounding vicinity. Actually, I’ve just looked up the collective noun for owls and it’s a “parliament” and, true enough, it did rather sounds as if they were having a rumbustious debate. Certainly, they did a lot of hooting at each other.

But I haven’t heard anything since that one night. I suppose they must range far and wide. I have, however, had a plethora (in the general, collective sense) of finches – gold, green, bull – and they’re all so lovely, as are the siskins.

I had to laugh at someone in that same letters page being unintentionally funny when he eulogised the rise in birds of prey in his area but lamented why there were now fewer small birds. Er: Maths. The. Do

We have rooks here, of course, and one of them almost talks as they fly overhead. It’s odd how there’s often one in a gang (sorry, these collective nouns are becoming ever more vague) of birds that seems more intelligent or friendly than the others.

Rab’s birdbox.

One female blackbird here comes within a few inches of my appalling and frightening presence (the gardening trousers are admittedly scary) for suet pellets. The others just give me peculiar looks from a distance. They’ve all got different personalities, I suppose.

But birds in general are right weird. They’re like cats at times. A cat wants out, so you open a door for it, and then it just sits there refusing to budge. Birds are similar. If there’s nothing in the feeder, they make a big show of pecking at it disconsolately and giving you accusatory looks.

So, you put out more seeds, and they fly away and don’t return for ages. I think it’s an evolutionary memory of traps being laid by ever untrustworthy humans. But they must know by now what a big sap I am.

Oddly enough, in the midst of writing this thesis or lecture, I took a wee dander outside and thought I saw a peerie bird in the vicinity of one bird box. But there’s no sign of any home-building inside.

Both boxes are on the side of my shed, where I’d found them originally, and they probably don’t want their bairns hearing me next door loudly asking the gods why I can always find every tool except the one I’m looking for.

They realise the shed is the centre of all the DIY. It’s disaster HQ. Probably not the best place to bring up your bairns.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]