Have you noticed how much bolder our wildlife is this year? It’s something to do with lockdown, I suspect. For the whole of last week something was raiding, vandalising even, our carefully-planted garden pots. Around every pot each morning I’d find a penumbra of scattered fibre, and there were sink-holes around my potted begonias. What could be going on?
It all seems to have been part of the blackbird breeding process. Noisy wing-flapping behind a berberis next the patio alerted me to the possible presence of a nest, and cautious inspection confirmed it. There were, I think, four blue eggs; but I retreated rapidly so could have been wrong. Why the pot vandalism? Were the parent birds looking for nesting material, or insects? What struck me was how little I knew about the habits and life of this most common garden creature; so, as we do, I consulted Google. Blackbirds, according to the Woodland Trust, have two to three broods a year, of three to five eggs; the round nest is constructed of ‘twigs, grass and other plant materials’. Everything fitted. Blackbirds were indeed my vandals.
One of Giotto’s frescoes in Assisi pictures St Francis and the birds; another shows him preaching to them. In our long Christian history, sanctity is revealed partly in love of nature. So, not vandals at all: simply brother and sister blackbird. I should praise God for my creaturely neighbours….