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The sparrows outside the window

I am, I confess, a birdwatcher.

Not in the traditional sense. I rarely go out with the express intention of spotting birds, rather it's something I do when already out. I'll own up to keeping a list, but that's mostly for the benefit of my son, who didn't display much interest in the natural world until he realised there were lists where you could tick things off, that it could be quantifiable: like collecting football stickers. I hope that having been sucked in by ticking boxes he'll end up just appreciating them for what they are.

This is the simple pleasure I've arrived at. And, to be honest, I don't have room in my head for every variety of bird (I used to, it's how I bonded with one of my oldest friends), these days I'd struggle to tell my sedge warbler from my reed warbler, and whilst I do follow rare bird twitter accounts, and was excited by the arrival of black terns at mere sands wood last summer, that's not really what gets me going.

I like the prosaic birds. I've blogged before about the pied wagtails that hunt on the flat roof at work, and about the point where feral pigeons end and wood pigeons start. And now I'll sing the praises of the family of house sparrows nesting in the ivy outside our bedroom window.

It's a sure sign of spring when one morning I'll suddenly hear the chatter. and it is chatter, rather than song, which I think in part is why we warm to theese gregarious, garrulous birds. There's a real sense of life and activity which, in a house with three small children in, is entirely relatable.

Their proximity is of course another reason why these birds are dear to a lot of people's hearts, they're called house sparrows for a reason, after all, and for many they'll be the bird they see most often. But that, to me, is part of the point as to why they should be appreciated.

I suppose the point of this post is to say find a way to take pleasure in your immediate surroundings. Yes it's a thrill to watch an osprey pluck a fish from the water, and a source of pride to say you've seen x amount of passage migrants. But for me, lying in bed and listening to the sparrows argue is a bird-watching pleasure that's hard to beat.


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