Lately, I’ve had blackbirds in my life. This is not a bad thing, from my perspective, as I love their song and priestly black of the male’s plumage. The female’s subtle toned plumage and their quiet yet bold approach to life and rearing the young makes me regard them as the ‘Madonna of the Garden’. One day I hope to finally paint the image I have in my mind.
Over the past few weeks, as spring has slipped past winter, the rush has started. Buds are busting, kowhai fireworks explode against blue skies, and there’s even more bird song than ever.
On saturday, four male blackbirds blitzed around me like mad fighter pilots and were gone in a frenzy of clucking feathers.
On sunday, returning books to the university library, I was struck by the clarity and beauty of a blackbird’s song. The symphony was quite probably the only beautiful thing to have ever come out of that disgraceful institution. The bird seemed completely out of place – and I think that’s is one their great appeals – blackbirds can add charm to anotherwise soul-sapping place. I can completely understand why the settlers brought blackbirds with them to New Zealand. It’s not that New Zealand doesn’t have superb indigenous songsters – it does, but they didn’t adapt to an urban or even rural environment. It’s deep forest or nothing.
So, after this influx of blackbirds into my life I decided I should make a ‘what dreams’ observation that in my heaven there will be blackbirds and they will sing as the angels they are. I must say there has been once in my life when the blackbird’s call has not been overly welcomed. I had taken my mother back to Denmark for her final visit. It was the day we’d arrived after a long trip from Hong Kong via Bangkok and Heathrow, before touching down in Copenhagen. I was tired and my body clock was unsure of itself. Summer in Denmark means very long twilights. It was lovely – but – with the extra light and a blackbird on full song – it was a welcome that was just a little overpowering.
Today, I was completely delighted to discover a pair of blackbirds have found in their hearts, and in our garden, a space to build a nest. Stay tuned and I’ll follow the couple’s story. I’m so excited.