Saturday, July 22, 2006


Hi world…..

I’m just sitting down to write my first entry, an introduction to my Blog. I’m wondering how to go about it, so I’ll just start with the scene around me, it’ll give you some idea about me and my life.

I’m sitting outside, in my the back yard, which is a part of a farm. The sun is setting, and it’s a beautiful summer’s evening in Ireland. Most nights, recently, I’ve been able to hear the calls of 3 corncrakes from where I’m sitting. Those 3 crakes are 3 out of the only 17 birds in the whole of mainland Ireland, if you omit those around Donegal and Mayo. I’m privileged to work with them.

While I’m writing this I’m constantly making little contact calls with a little Mistle Thrush who is sitting on the windowsill next to me. Turdy. She’s named after the genus for the thrush family, Turdus, and her/his propensity for the production of faecal matter. I communicate with her through little whistling noises made between my teeth and tongue, seep-seep-soop, soop-soop-seep, and she replies with similar little trills. Over the last 5 days she has finally refused to accept food from me, only returning to roost and chat with me through these little trilling noises.

I raised her, having found her on a road that was being widened. She’d had her hedge destroyed, lost her nest and siblings. She was around 7 or 8 days old, probably, and approaching death having perhaps spent 5 hours covered in road resurfacing dust on a hot summer’s day on a road. She spent a couple of weeks with me before being released outside. When I say a couple of weeks, probably three, and all of the time, except when I was out during the night listening for calling corncrakes. I’d get in at first light and she’d want breakfast, four or five worms and a little chat. An hour later she’d want to do it again. Every hour and every time that I left her and returned again, she’d want to go through the same process. Now we don’t have to do the worm thing, but the contact is still nice. She just calls in for a chat before I go to work and another when the sun goes down. It’s nice, it saves me having to go to the pub to talk to strangers in order to justify my existence and get human contact. It saves me money now, compared with the 5 to 10 euros a day that it has cost me since I first found her.

A sparrowhawk just flew past being harried by swallows. The swallows have just returned, full of pride at there achievement. I’m grateful for there vigilance. Turdy would be at great risk, perhaps, due to the lack of training that I have been unable to provide. The swallows have raised there young in our outhouse, by the back door. They don’t know what to make of me. I paid to much interest in there nesting, and surprised them with a torch on the first night that the both of the pair arrived, causing one of them to fly out during darkness, something that is never good for birds which are night-blind. They raised 4. They’re chuntering at me now, and don’t know what to make of my relationship with Turdy. For an ornithologist I anthropomorphise far too much. Ask the Maalie King.

The Maalie King was here last week to visit. Or to use the rhetorical language of the Maalie Court, “His Highness, King Fowler (Rex), inspected the outer reaches of the Royal Maalie Kingdom, to the great pleasure of his loyal subjects and one esteemed Knight of the Court”. You’ll have to follow the link to that one.


Blogger simon said...

this is VERY cool. I have raised a female butcher bird.....

2:40 AM  

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