Thursday, 3 July 2008

Do birds suffer from altitude sickness? ***Edited***

I ask because if they don't then we are home to a seriously disturbed and suicidal family of sparras.

For at least six years now they have come back to a little nest at the apex of our roof gable and you would think (because I assume it is the same family) that that couple would know just how much space they have up there. But every year from Spring onwards the area in front of the house is covered in bird poo, bits of egg and assorted sizes of dead chick!

All I can think is that being up on top of the hill here, and then another twelvetythree metres above the ground at their nest, the altitude is so ridiculously thin that everything hatching up there suffers from oxygen deprivation.

How many eggs does a common house sparra lay? Surely it would only be two or three, I'll go to four at a pinch. Do you not think the first thing they would tell those little ugly brand new baby birds would be - KEEP STILL!! So far this year I have counted three dead birds of varying ages, from really new little unattractive, featherless ones to yesterday's effort. Yesterday all five children who were in my house at different points of the day took great delight in telling me about the dead bird outside in the garden. Not one little blurry terence offered to put it in the bin for me though, that had to wait until CK came home that evening. Even then I had to suggest strongly several times that he might like to get rid of it. So now it moulders the sleep of the innocent dead deep in the heart of a black bin bag.

And I have to say - I'm not sad about that. Because have you looked at a baby bird? I mean really looked? (WARNING!! Clicking on this link will lead you to something truly gross.) I have to tell you that they are singularly unattractive things. The lack of feathers is bad enough but when they are really tiny there is the 'whole veins popping up on the body' thing and the scrawny little wings they pathetically atempt to hide when anyone looks at them. And those little baby birds can't actually be held responsible either. I blame the parents.

Surely the responsibility lies only with them and anything else ANYONE ever does to rescue a baby bird from the clutches of certain death, such as staying awake all night when you realise the one you found behind clay flowerpots is now hiding behind the aqualegias and mexican orange bush because you may have tried to rescue it earlier in the day, is pointless. That is how I comfort myself anyway. I did everything for that stupid bird including the staying awake thing only to rescue it the following morning and put it safely up in a tree out of harm's way wherein it promptly jumped into next door's garden and the BIG dog next door chased it and then ate it.

As I may have mentioned before I am an organic gardener (that is, I am exceedingly lazy and cannot be arsed to go and buy the poisons to spray over my plants) and so we have a lot of wildlife in the garden. Some of it beloved of people around the world - butterflies, bees, sparras, robins, blackbirds and I even saw a goldfinch last week.The flipside is all the other stuff no-one ever mentions -slugs, snails, whitefly. But my flowers are out and looking FAB just now.

I took these after receiving the rather lovely Summer jam from Michaela (fyi O guardian of the stash basket, there is only a little bit left....) and meant to post them as a thank-you bouquet. I didn't manage it b/c there was a volcano, an earthquake, my suit wasn't back from the cleaners ........ oh come on, let's be honest - I'm just crubbish! But very belatedly

Thank you!


  1. Only a mother bird could love that chick then perhaps she doesn't thats why they are out the nest.

  2. In my experience birds are stoopid. Just plain stoopid. Hence losing their babies, etc. It's sad, but true. x

  3. That has to be the funniest thing I've read for ages - you kill me Trashy!!!

    I was hooked as soon as I read the title - I vote that to be 'Best Blog Post Title of the Year 2008' far!!

    I'm amazed our blackbird's managed to rear a chick - the stupid things had made their nest so visible that every magpie for miles around must have chortling at the stupidity!!


  4. turns out it's not JUST a dog-eat-dog's a dog-eat-baby-bird world too! there's a lesson there for all of us, methinks! (just don't ask me exactly what it is!) other baby news...3 CHEERS for baby will!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  5. Baby birds are a bit rubbish and those sound rather suicidal too. Have you ever seena baby pigeon. Truly monstrous - maybe that's what's in your link - just bracing myself to look. Which should be first - pooey nappy or scary link - tough decision.

    Beautiful mosiac.

    By the way, what is crubbish? Is it like pleather?

  6. "Survival of the fittest" means that the truly stoopid birds will take the dirt nap in your yard or the the neighbor dog will get a tiny snack. Takes the really stoopid birds out of the gene pool. If all the birds lived every year, we'd probably be up to our ankles in bird poo.

  7. Very very funny post madwoman! And I agree with Lesley - definitely the best blog title in ages!

    Poor little birds - they can't help being ugly and stupid can they?

    Locket xxx