Living the Dream: A fascination with birds

There she was again, I could see her out of the corner of my eye, watching my every move and it was barely becoming light enough to see. I paused in front of the barn door, put the key into the frozen padlock and as it turned, click! The sound of the lock opening must have startled her and off she disappeared, behind the barn.

Over the years, really since being a kid, I’ve had many favourite kinds of animals and birds (other than our dogs and farm animals of course) which have enthralled me, entertained me or just plain amazed me in some way. Field mice, kestrels or birds of prey generally, frogs, blackbirds, swallows and over recent years, I have become more inspired by one particular little bird we have around the farm, the wren.

I’m sure that since moving out here early in 2014, there’s not been a single day passed which hasn’t involved seeing this little bird at least once each day.

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It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, as just happened only the other morning, even before the sun was up, I came across Jenny Wren, who normally follows me into the barn, darting from perch to perch, in search of breakfast. She is such an inquisitive little soul and so hard working.

Through until dark and beyond, she goes about her work around the farm. Only the other night, I stumbled across her as I was collecting logs for the house from the log store. She just sat on the top of the pile, with my head torch blinding her sight, with nerves of steel she didn’t flinch at all.

She may be almost the smallest bird we have in the UK, but with her fearless nature and an extraordinarily loud call, which should be coming from a bird much larger in stature than our Jenny, she is a wonder.

I so often hear her high up in the trees and in amongst the shrubs, working away to provide for her family. Back in the spring, in her wisdom she thought she could cut that workload down by just making a few adjustments to a swallows’ nest, inside the stable and then after getting nicely moved in, the swallows returned from abroad and promptly kicked her out.

She then moved around the corner and into a field shelter, but once again after a few weeks of comfortable living, in her moss, feather and sheep wool-lined home she was unceremoniously turfed out of her home, so other birds could promptly dismantle it for their own needs. There was a short gap, when I wasn’t sure where she was living, but recently, the mystery was solved, as I found her all snuggled down inside the paper towel dispenser outside the back door of the barn.

Over recent months we’ve been having regular visits from a big black cat, which isn’t an issue for me, as long as he behaves himself, but the same can’t be said for our Jenny. I always know when the cats on our turf.

There she’ll be, sitting aloft the weather vane above the stables where she opens her lungs and let’s the world know that Sylvester’s in town. I’m not sure exactly what impresses me most about Jenny and maybe it’s just that I see a lot of myself in her, as she’s small, can be quite gobby and never gives you a minute’s peace!