Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The bird table

I have a little animal feeding trip around the cottage and garden, each morning, while I wait for the kettle to boil. Dog first, the sack of food being in a metal-dustbin in the shed (to stop the mice); Wilf then gets shut in in the kitchen to avoid him committing daylight-breakfast-robbery. Cat next, Thistle's breakfast is put under the boat to prevent seagulls swooping and causing a huge vet's bill and finally, I feed the birds. The fact that my garden birds probably eat a more varied diet than most of Falmouth Uni' students is one of my little luxuries. This daily trip is carried out in a very old Boden, mauve dressing-gown which the Robin is fine with but quite honestly would make a nice dog blanket (I think I'll get a new one if I ever need to go into hospital). Maybe I should just ask Johnny for a new one claiming 'faithful service'.

This morning as I put out the muesli-style base, peppered with berry fat strips and then dried meal-worms and caught sight of my 'extended family' gathering in the trees. The collared doves are particularly startled by my dressing gown, so prefer to wait until I am safely away in the kitchen. This morning they gave me a bit of a shock, temporarily. Mr and Mrs Dove mate for life and are a lovely team to watch. While one feeds, the other keeps watch and then they swap over - how romantic. Anyway, suddenly there were three and for a brief second I was dismayed - how could this nasty gooseberry barge in like this? Then of course I realised it was their offspring! Smaller, punk hairdo, slightly gangly with a need for one of Mrs T's super boosting fill-ups. My next anxiety is how they will find a mate in time for Spring. Do the doves have gatherings where they arrange such things (like a Jane Austin tea party)? There are so few Doves in the village......

As I sit at my study desk, a pile of research to my left, the family Dove are digesting their morning repast sat on a Hazel branch in the Autumn sunshine. Thistle is carrying out her ladies toilette on top of the log pile and Wilf is lying at my feet on 'Blankie'. He plays the big bully but is actually a big baby when it comes to Blankie. So all is well.

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