Of late, I have taken to watching the birds which land in our garden. There are pidgeons, parrots, magpies, sparrows, mynas, wattlejacks and ravens, all mingling in the grass and staking out their spot either on the ground (if there's food to be had) or in the nearby trees. There are turf wars, of course. The wattlejacks tend to move in swiftly and aggressively, taking what food they like the look of and moving off again. The mynas, all in a line, watch the action from the side fence and then move in for their bit of bread/oatmeal/birdseed. The pidgeons quietly plot their course, weaving in and out amongst the other birds, circling the perimeter, avoiding the fights. The parrots sit in the soon-to-be-flowering gum tree, chirping out a commentary and delighting in the knowledge that they have the brightest plummage around. The ravens and the magpies? They do just as they please. No one challenges them. I know I shouldn't put human food out for them, but I figure at least I am not throwing the food out - something is eating it - and at least too these urban birds aren't getting their fill out of the bins at the nearby hamburger place. Of course, when I ventured out to photograph my feathered friends for you, there was a mass evacuation and I managed to snap only a lone, hungry magpie who similarly took flight to a nearby tree once he'd finished off his morning snack.
Since developing this new awareness of the microcosmos around me, I have found two lovely books to stoke my interest (a few images from which there are above). First, the Butterflies and Feathers Painting Book, published in about 1917, with lovely illustrations originally designed for children to copy but just so pretty, and also Frances Pitt's Meet us in the Garden from 1946, with beautiful black-and-white illustrations by Stanley Herbert. Meet us in the Garden? I can think of no better place to meet!
Before I go for the week, I'd like to nominate my next candidate for Kreativ Blogger (see Monday and Tuesday's blogs)...the wonderful Wurst Semmel at Recycled Rex (http://wurst-semmel.blogspot.com/). The detail with which WS approaches each episode of Kommissar Rex makes this site the only one on the Web worth looking at for all things about our favourite Austrian police hund.
Enjoy your weekend :)