UK Garden birds
How-to guides: Just for today, truth is not facts. Truth is beauty! Let us bask in Peter’s beautiful truths on how to set about loving the tiny feathery splendour of British garden birds while he feeds a seagull tenderly.
Hello. Last time I popped into Mookychick to share my wisdom with you, I spoke on the subject of bees. I hope your editor Magda will put a link to it. Did she? Good. But as we all know, the earth’s bees are dying out, so, well, feck ’em, basically. Nobody wants to bet on a losing horse, do they? This time around, I’ve come to talk about garden birds. The feathered variety, what live in the world around us, chirping and that. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you birds.
The wren is the smallest bird in the world, and is indeed the smallest creature on earth. It’s even smaller than a baby woodlouse. In fact, it’s smaller than an atom. Yeah, it’s that small. So don’t feed it bread or it will swell up and explode. Basically, what we’re saying is, leave wrens alone.
The dunnock is also known as the hedge sparrow. The house sparrow got the house racket, tree sparrows got the trees, hedge sparrows got the hedges. Which means that, if you are a tree sparrow and you go into a hedge, you are liable to run into a posse of hedge sparrows with baseball bats and you are leaving in an ambulance. Seriously, sparrows do not play around.
The great tit is actually just a blue tit in elaborate make-up, as great bubbies exist purely to provide ornithologists with the opportunity to make amusing jokes about women’s bajingles. “Oh look, two great bubbies!” “I’ve got a pair of great bubbies on my nuts!” The opportunities are quite simply limitless.
You probably won’t see a green woodpecker in your garden, to be honest, but it’s included in here so I can include an actual fascinating fact, rather than the rubbish included elsewhere. Fact: the woodpecker’s tongue is so long that when it is retracted, the bird has to store it in a cavity behind its brain, and it has an ear on the end too. Honest, that’s the truth. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
It’s a little known fact that the treecreeper, so called because of its habit of creeping up and down trees, actually hates creeping on trees, and is bound to continue the activity simply because of its name. Indeed, treecreepers have lobbied ornithological agencies to change their name to “puddlewallower”, “constantgrubeater” and “worldsbestbirdever” but they just won’t have it.
Often called “the trashcan of the ocean” on account of the fact that it will pretty much eat anything, items like boots, tyres and car numberplates have been found in the stomachs of captured collared doves. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that they won’t eat humans too – second only to the great white, the collared dove is one of the sea’s most ferocious predators and will… Oh, no, hang on. I’m thinking of the tiger shark. Sorry.
Many believe that the house sparrow is so called because of its tendency to inhabit heavily populated areas, but the reality is that house sparrows are actually enthusiastic aficionados of house music, especially early Todd Terry. Indeed, house sparrow nests are usually made from discarded glow-sticks and old flyers. Sadly, house sparrows did too much ecstacy when they were younger and now they get depressed very easily.
Until recently, it was thought by many oceanographers that the chaffinch was in perpetual motion, but recently a large cave was discovered in the Gulf Of Mexico where many chaffinches were found to be ‘sleeping’, in a state of trance that has become known as ‘tonic immobility’. The chaffinches were quite docile and divers were able to. No, wait, that’s the tiger shark again. Damn.
The Rook (Corvus frugilegus) is a member of the Corvidae family in the passerine order of birds. Named by Linnaeus in 1758, the species name frugilegus is Latin for “food-gathering”. This species is similar in size (45-47 cm in length) or slightly smaller than the Carrion Crow with black feathers often showing a blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight. The feathers on the head, neck and shoulders are particularly dense and silky. The legs and feet are generally black and the bill grey-black. Rooks are distinguished from similar members of the crow family by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the adult’s bill in front of the eyes. The feathering around the legs also look shaggier and laxer than the congeneric Carrion Crow. The juvenile is superficially more similar to the Crow because it lacks the bare patch at the base of the bill, but it loses the facial feathers after about six months. A group of rooks is called a building. And yes, before you ask, we did just copy and paste this from Wikipedia. Sorry, but it was getting late and the pizza’s going to be here in a minute and Match Of The Day is about to start, and we really need the loo but there’s no loo roll so we’re going to have to go out for that too. I mean, we can’t exactly ring the neighbour’s doorbell and say, “Hi, can I borrow some toilet roll please? I need a poo but I have a pizza on the way.” Just not going to happen. Anyway, rooks are like crows and… Right, that’s the doorbell. Domino’s time!
Peter nurses his poorly gullfriend back to health.