2. Watching the birds in my garden (19-3-2020)
Written by: Jan Luiten van Zanden
Yesterday I had a rather gloomy contribution to our chat group (a contribution about the length of time it would take to get group immunity to the corona-virus, which was published at https://www.esb.nu/blog/20058995/weg-naar-groepsimmuniteit-is-maatschappelijk-te-lang-en-kostbaar). So let me try to be more cheerful today. One of the nice things about being at home is that I really have to watch the birds in my garden, because they are right in front of me. It is nice to see them all so active.
The magpies started building a nest in the big pine tree 5 or 6 weeks ago already, and still more or less dominate the scene; when they come down from their nests, all other birds suddenly disappear (the cats have the same effect).
It almost seems as if they enjoy this.
The pair of hedge sparrows have also been quite active the last few weeks – their nest is right in front of me, and ‘he’ (I assume) has been extremely vocal with a very nice melodious song (I actually hear him now). The literature tells me that it is he who sings, but it is hard to see the difference, and there is probably room for new research going beyond the gender stereotypes pointing out that this is not true. It is perhaps interesting to tell that in a distant past biologists thought that most birds made pairs for life and were loyal partners, but that they discovered very different behaviour when they began to do DNA research and were able to really find out who was the father (and the mother) of all those nice chicks. So much for romantic tales about bird loyalty.
Then there are great tits and the blue tits, who probably have nests as well, but I do not know where. On Monday a wren visited our garden; it is very small, with a very nice upright tail, and a song even nicer than the hedge sparrow. It is really lovely to see and to hear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppJNQX8F1LA
It is not the smallest bird that ever set foot in our garden, but more about that in the future.
Continue reading: Imperialism and Vergaderen (20-3-2020)