Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Birds. A Fair Distribution.

The Big Bird count today starts in France - take part if you're not heading for the beach.

We're absolutely swarmed with little birds. Tits, finches, starlings, wrens, swallows - everywhere. Open windows - and they start flying in and out of the house! At times it's a bit like in Daphne Du Maurier's The Birds. At least they are not (yet) attacking us.

One swallow got into the kitchen and couldn't find a way out. I threw a tea towel over him and gently let him go outside.

Which reminded me of a passage from Henry Thoreau's 'Walden. Life on the Golden Pond'.

November 9, 1857

Mr Farmer tells me that on Sunday he went to his barn, having nothing to do, and thought he would watch  the swallows, republican swallows. The old bird was feeding her young, and he sat within fifteen feet, overlooking them. There were five young, and he was curious to know how each received its share; and as often as the bird came with a fly, the one at the door (or opening) took it, and then they all hitched round one notch, so that a new one was presented at the door, who received the next fly; and this was the invariable order, the same one never received two flies in succession. At last the old bird brought a very small fly, and the young one that swallowed it did not desert his ground but waited to receive the next, but when the bird came with another, of the usual size she commenced a loud and long scolding at the little one, till it resigned its place, and the next in succession received the fly.

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