by Johnny Dale
I feel nature and being outside watching the wildlife out in the garden or on my walks has helped me a lot during these unprecedented times.
I have to admit I loved last year’s lockdown. Not from the point of many people losing their lives, but for the stopping of noise and aircraft and car noise.
It seemed everything was so quiet, and the birds seemed louder. Nature’s natural noise, that we really should be hearing to help us mentally, as it is what our minds really crave.
There were less of the city noise of cars and buses, and this was amazing.
I felt the birds and nature was speaking to me, like Mr Bullfinch, he was looking right in my window saying “thanks Johnny for these berries of Cotoneaster Rosaceae Simonsii.”
Cotoneaster are evergreen or deciduous shrubs.
Mostly hardy they range from prostrate mat-forming types and hummocks, to large bushes and trees with brilliantly coloured red berries which birds like the bullfinch love.
Members of the finch family will happily gorge on these delicious natural food.
It is important to provide food to help birds but not too much and not always throughout the year as they become dependent on that food.
Sometimes it is good for them to have a balance of looking for food and having a little helping hand.
During Covid times I’ve been out locally, listening and closely watching with care and affection the habits of our natural world.
It has fascinated me for many years how adaptable Nature is and birds are, despite extreme climate and weather changes they still keep going.
Many of these little birds only have a short lifespan, too. Imagine for a minute if our lifespan was only 3 or 4 years at best, it’s important to put our self for a bit in nature’s shoes, and small birds too.
They are so beautiful to see and I felt Mr Bullfinch was out early, having his breakfast and saying “hello Johnny good morning, just gorging myself on these lovely juicy berries if you don’t mind.
“Johnny do you know.” said Mr Bullfinch
“That it’s so hard to find bushes like this, as so many people are replacing their gardens with tarmac bricks and their hedges with wooden or walled fences and replacing overgrown bushes where I used to nest and hide, with concrete?
“It’s getting more and more difficult each year as hedges are ripped out and gardens replaced. Even grass is replaced with artificial grass, bushes are chopped down or ripped out.
“Yes there are green spaces, but most of them have only the same types of things and for my family, a good source of berries and seeds is very helpful.
“Soft fruits help, seeds of ash, dandelion, buttercup, dock nettles and bramble.
“But I can be destructive to young trees as I do like native tree buds like oak, sallow and hawthorn, but these trees are hardy and can withstand as I only take a few.
“My only wish John, that there were more food and more places where I could raise my family and increase the population over time.
“Each year is getting harder and harder for us.
“So please during this pandemic please spare a thought for us and the other bird population too, who are declining lots due to the non action and only words said by the few.
“I know the many are on our side.
“Thank you, Johnny for spreading our message, goodbye.”