Monday, 27 December 2010

The plight of birds in the bleak midwinter

Our woodland garden still has fringes of snow on it, from the last fall of snow about a week ago. There is a complete unmelted snowman made by children nearby which has stood for ten days which is unheard of in the UK. It is a good thing that global warming was renamed "climate change".

This morning I am just getting over a horrifying picture in the Daily Telegraph of a near frozen pheasant in Norfolk walking on its tip toes on the snow, all fluffed up, clearly feeling the sub zero temperatures. This is really a bleak midwinter - and one feels for wildlife.

So I was delighted that relatives gave us a large bird station for Christmas, a deluxe version of a bird table, with five hanging feeders, and even a water tray. In the snow, birds cannot find water, so this is crucial. I am not putting it near the house, but in a quiet part of the garden which I plan to turn into a mini "bird sanctuary", possibly with a hide to watch them and above all to hear them!

The song of birds has been shown to have beneficial effects on humans and living where we do in spring, the sweet "music" is therapeutic. In fact, my husband recently had a hearing aid fitted and he was overwhelmed at being able to hear the music of the birds again. The medieval world thoroughly appreciated it, before chamber music was invented.

Let us really consider the birds of the wood, mountain and field, in these cold times. The weather is tough - and they have really sung for their winter supper. They deserve our help.

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