Just thought I’d post this short tale before heading offline and on vacation.
For the last few days, a Chiffchaff has been calling from a group of tall trees in our new garden. It’s the first I’ve heard for many weeks. The last one I saw I spied through a cellar window. He or she was foraging in one of the sitting areas we have outside and there we were, nose-to-beak so to speak, with only a pane of glass separating us. Helpfully, I could see the Chiffchaff but the Chiffchaff couldn’t see me.
Early this week, I was sitting on a bench outside in the sunshine smoking a cigarette, having promised my partner that our new home will be smoke free. Looking up at a first-floor window, I noticed what I thought was a House sparrow—a spatz is the local term—hunting for insects. Then it came down, bounced off the plane tree and landed on the cobbles, right at my feet.
It was a Chiffchaff.
He or she simply sat there immobilised, and I realised that what I had thought was hunting was actually something like a spasm following a collision with that window. There were no cats around, but for safety’s sake, I picked the bird up; easily, which is rarely a good sign. I cupped it in my hands and walked around to the back of the house to call my partner, but she didn’t hear me through her office window.
I kept the bird in my hands, but opened them occasionally. It made no attempt to ‘escape’, and once or twice opened and closed its beak (again, rarely a good sign, I thought). Then, as I opened my hands for, perhaps, the fourth or fifth time, the bird flew adeptly a few meters to a rose standard, and perched on the lowest branch. Seconds later, it left.
Now, in my small, simple, ideal world, I tell myself that the Chiffchaff calling from the trees is that very same bird. And I think how very fortunate it was to have landed right at my feet. And while I know that smoking is very bad for one’s health, I can see that—if one’s a Chiffchaff—it can be quite useful at times.
All the best –
A nice story, Dave. I do like the way you look at the world and have a different slant on things. I'm always surprised how birds that are stunned by flying into windows appear to make a full recovery and fly off seemingly unharmed. Perhaps he will return to your garden next year after spending the winter further south.
Dave - CH said:For the last few days, a Chiffchaff has been calling from a group of tall trees in our new garden
Coincidentally, I heard a "hueet" call from my garden but was unsure whether it was a contact call of a Chiffchaff or a Chaffinch as they can be somewhat similar. Then to my surprise I heard the familiar "chiiff chaff chaff" song" but unfortunately couldn't see it. I think this is the latest I've ever heard its song.
Have a good holiday wherever you are going.
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