The opening words of a negro spiritual “My Lord What A Morning” taken out of their original context, express so simply my feelings when first I venture outside on an early summer’s morning. There is a freshness to which is added a symphony of bird song to greet the day that, given the chance, will lift the most dejected of spirits.
My garden, whilst an example in many respects of problems unsolved, has provided host to several nesting birds in quite an exceptional year. Best of all were a pair of robins who moved into an appropriate nest box lodged in the honeysuckle by the S.W. corner of our home. From the comfort of my arm chair I was able to observe their every activity. And active they most certainly were! Resisting the temptation to peer into the privacy of their home I speculated to the likelihood of quintuplets or even more! Judging by the quantity of grubs and worms that were delivered, without doubt there were many dependants. It was almost dusk one evening when to my astonishment, the largest fledgling robin I have ever seen flopped on to the window sill! Almost twice the size of its parents, its huge yellow edged beak and whiskered cheeks gave it a comical appearance. Just one offspring for so much effort seemed a poor reward. Would it then survive the night? It was not until three days later that I saw it again, perched more confidently this time, on the bough of an apple tree, but still receiving much parental attention.
“Fledgling time” is most certainly the time when economies can be made by not buying or feeding the garden birds with nuts or anything else. Youngsters can so easily choke on hard fragments of nuts or dry bread crumbs. There is ample high protein insect life for parental duties to be performed without any help from us.