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Can you speak bird?

Updated: Jun 1, 2019

This time of the year the birds have a lot to say for themselves. If you ever find yourself awake for the dawn chorus it is a sound to behold. If the early start is a little too brutal then take yourself off to a wood for the evening chorus. Immerse yourself in the polyphonic wonder of British bird song, savour the sounds all around you as you bathe in birdsong.

In many ways it doesn't matter who is singing. The variety of sounds that birds can make really is a musical marvel. The more interesting question though is what are the birds saying.

Lily Horseman, one of the directors of the Forest School Association, wrote a blog that opened up my mind to this very question.

In September I was lucky enough to do a course with Jon Young, a truly inspiring naturalist & storyteller. He has written a book that will transform how you listen to the birds around you.

In essence if we understand the birds we can meet any animal we want to. The animals around us, in our green spaces, woodlands and urban environments pay very close attention to what the birds are saying. The varied alarm calls announce to all what is in the environment at any one time. These animals can then choose to make a dignified exit before us humans get anywhere near a close encounter.

By sitting and observing in what ever nature spot is available to us we can regain this knowledge which our ancestors would have utilised only too well. Jon's book opens up how we can move 'into another realm of awareness and intention and curiosity'. I love this book and the way it has opened me up to a deeper connection with the natural spaces around me. It has even prompted me to get up and listen to the dawn chorus more than once. I no longer worry about who is saying what but instead try and understand what is going on in the natural world.

Recently during a regular forest school session I heard a very loud alarm call of a blackbird. I looked up to witness an owl being chased off by 2 furious blackbirds. Not near our nest site thank you very much! It was a fleeting moment but my ears tuned in and I caught it. This has been one of my spring highlights out in the woods.

Go and find yourself a sit spot, tune in and really listen to the sounds around you. You never know what the birds might be telling you.

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mary sanderson
mary sanderson
Jun 01, 2019

lovely blog, beautiful embroidery. kudos Jenny.x

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