It’s Sunday 14th April. By now, the trees should be in bud and leaf, baby birds (particularly Rooks/Jackdaws) should be calling for their mothers and food for all should be becoming plentiful again.
In wildlife terms, spring is dangerously late this year. Friends have been telling me of seeing Red Kites sitting on garage roofs and only yesterday one took off from the garden opposite my house when I started my car. I’ve taken to putting food out for these huge birds too, covering my shed roof in bits of left over bread, the remains of poached eggs and sinewy bits of meat that are no good even to my frugal eye. These poor birds are hungry, I see them and other scavengers hopefully circling over roads and hedgerows, looking for a small meal to help them to eek out their winter existence a little longer. I wonder how many of them have perished. However, this is something that we as nature lovers must come to accept in regards to the weather. We cannot save them all.
I have volunteered at and have family and friends who work at St Tiggywinkles, Wildlife Hospital Trust, this is a marvellous place that strives to save animals from death or damage be it by human hand, disease, starvation or accident. I’ll be exhibiting my work there again as part of Bucks Open Studios and will be happily resident at the hospital for some of the time. (Making the most of the opportunity to draw the permanent Ravens…) So there you go, you know I’m an out and out animal lover and saver of animals, but I do accept that there is a natural balance that is achieved by weather events such as the ones we have been experiencing. That a lot of my beloved birds will and already have died as a result of the harsh winter and what seems like even harsher spring.
I predict that this spring will be a rushed one, plants racing to bloom, birds and other animals fervently raising families, building nests, digging out setts and dens, gorging on the suddenly abundant food. But also that it will be a difficult one, all those little babies who would have liked a little longer to grow up, to become strong, will be pushed to the limits of their capabilities. Again, I worry that mortality rates will be high.
But for now, the sun is finally shining, the wind is finally warmer and the plants and trees stir. As do I, with ideas for development, work and all the possibilities that spring hope brings.
Please feed the birds.