major drama in my garden – all my fault

After the usual procrastination I cut my grass today, and for good measure decided to thin the ivy smothering my shed. This was ill conceived – an ear piercing screech and rattle made me grab a branch or I would have toppled from my ladder. Two blackbirds shot from the thick of the ivy, and the racket didn’t stop there. I had disturbed their nest. Crushed, I left the crime scene to watch the birds through the window from my desk. There was no end to the palaver, something was seriously amiss.

Illustration by Natasha Tonkin

Illustration by Natasha Tonkin

I found a plump fledgling on the ground giving me angry tweets and an accusing stare. What now? Feeling properly guilty, my mind started spinning. The teen must get back to its nest or … the last time I had nursed a bird was in Somerset. We were a family then, and it wasn’t me digging holes for worms, a full-time job, I recalled.

Somewhat unsure, I took a step towards the fledgling. Frantic attack – the parent blackbirds swished over my head like missiles. All right, all right, back to my desk. The birds kept cruising and complaining, and I kept a nervous lookout for cats. My garden is a highway for cats. The fledgling disappeared from my view, though its tweet, tweet was steady, quite loud, I thought, and near, I thought … very near … the little one had hopped through my door … ‘All your fault, your sort it’ … I swear that’s what I heard. And more … ‘Feed me!’ … its beak snapped open so wide I saw only orange.

Donning soft garden gloves, I picked up the bird, got tweezers and started looking for morsels under flowerpots. No worms, only grubs rolled into balls or twirling their tiny legs. Three of wriggly things were eagerly gobbled up, after that, outright refusal. Maybe they tickle in the belly. By that time the whole garden was in uproar. More birds had gathered to protest, some on the roof. The parents zigzagged between trees and shed, even wood pigeons zoomed in to see what was going on.

Up the ladder then, to find the nest in the jungle of ivy, and there was something in the dark that looked like a nest. I shoved the fledgling forward. Flatter, flatter, flop, and the silly bird was back on the ground. Oh my, the protest from my growing bird-audience was deafening. The teen seemed fine, a little dazed, but fine.

Back to my desk, to calm down, to think … tweet, tweet … the fledgling was back on the doormat … ‘Now do something right’ … The cage, I had a decorative cage. Some ivy, some dry grass and leaves, ready, only for protection dear, while I go worm-hunting. So much for ornamental cages, birds sure have an inbuilt dread of cages; this one squeezed its way out in no time. What a spirit.

No doubt the rebel would wander back to my door. I got a torch, mind you, the sun was shining. The birds had chosen a perfect hiding place in the depth of the ivy, until I came along with my shears, convinced breeding time was done. To my relief the nest was there, empty, unharmed, just within my reach. I fetched my little friend, who was indeed waiting for me in the door, and I brought him home. The peace is divine.


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12 responses to “major drama in my garden – all my fault

  1. Oh my goodness, what a palaver but hopefully all ending well. I can understand how upsetting this must have been, darned wildlife why can’t they put up warning signs 🙂 Thanks for this.


  2. Today was not a good day for worms, the birds were catching up with feeding, so the little one must be fine, which eases my conscience 🙂
    Then again, I killed a spider today (murderer me). It was in the wrong place and I didn’t feel like chucking it out, too much to do. Fear of spiders is deep stuff. People have all kinds of association with spiders. I admire them in a way, just don’t like the way they move. Louise Bourgeois did a gigantic sculpture of a spider, which was exhibited in Tate Modern a few years back, very impressive.


  3. I admire the way you rescued the little bird. Unfortunately I have a phobia and if left to me it would probably have perished.


  4. Pingback: … my blackbird … | Course of Mirrors

  5. This is really a cool sketch, a kind of personal essay.


  6. Ah, the impotence of guilt! But what the satisfaction of achievement! A really identify-with scenario. Great.


  7. Not my best moment. But all was well in the end, and we made friends.


  8. A few years ago we had blackbirds nesting with a couple of chicks and one of them just wouldn’t stay put. It’s bother/sister would sit quietly while it crashed around in the garden driving its parents crazy. We’d put it back in the nest and minutes later we’d hear the rustling of vegetation and the chick would be bouncing about on the ground again. We lived in a more or less cat-free zone at that time so just let the birds cope with their own wandering offspring and feed it on the ground. It came to no harm. In fact the parents brought over another family group (cousins I suppose) with three chicks to move in with them so we ended up with five blackbird chicks clucking and chirruping behind every bush in the garden. Mad as hatters—probably my favourite birds.


  9. Gosh, five chicks, you were brave to stay out it out. My rescuer would have kicked in, my garden being a highway for neighbouring cats. To watch the antics of this family must have been fantastic entertainment.


  10. Pingback: … blackbirds – another drama … | Course of Mirrors

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