Friday, January 27, 2006

Sound of starlings, fine snow, garden birds

I have been trying to decribe the wonderful complex sounds that emerge from the starlings (the collective noun, "murmuration", somehow falls short if it is thought of as onomatopoea), which have recently been clustering on the trees in the Grove and on neighbouring rooftops. Here is how an ornithologist, Bernard Tucker, quoted in Birds Britanica, describes the sound:" A lively, rumbling medley of throaty warbling, chirruping, clicking and gurgling sounds interspersed with musical whistles and pervaded by a peculiar creaky quality."

Snow so fine that you can't see it, this afternoon, but you just feel the sharp pin pricks as the wind drives it into your face.

Most of the birds that I encounter are garden birds because I rarely now manage to get into open country, woods, heathland and hills, or the sea shore. So the supplement in today's Independent is more than welcome. It has put me right on one thing I have been worried about for some time. The big ungainly bird ( black from head to tail and claw) that I have seen lumbering about the Grove, is a carrion crow, and not, as I had foolishly thought it to be, a raven.


tristan said...

i had hoped to encourage your delusion by ignoring it

Unknown said...

I'm sorry you did not put me right. As the days went by, I was almost certain that I had been mistaken.