Today is Bird Day; its mission is to raise awareness of how the global bird population is under threat due to… well… mainly us, basically. I’m not going to be all sanctimonious and go on about deforestation, vegetarianism, hunting and the banning of aviaries, because I’d either be a massive hypocrite or fighting a cause without fully understanding both sides of the argument. However, what I will do is quickly talk about how amazing birds are. Oh yeah, you’d better believe it; they rock my Foghorn Leghorn socks!
Face it, birds are ace. Apologies if I sound flippant, allow me to elaborate: birds are beautiful, majestic, mesmerising and comforting; they lighten our mood, brighten our day, fill the air with song and our heads with fantasies of soaring high above the land. They come in a kaleidoscope of shapes, sizes and colours, with behaviours that can soothe, fascinate, enliven and astound. They bring joy to the hearts of the young and old alike, causing each to brim with wonder and admiration. They are a part of us all, physically detached but spiritually connected; countless spectacular forms that forever glide in harmony with the elements and each other, breathing life into every dawn and gently lulling the sun to sleep each night.
Sappy I know, but I do love birds. I live in the inner city, so rarely see much more than a pigeon or the occasional lost seagull up close, but despite childhood years being far behind me, their silhouettes in the sky and shadows on the ground never fail to spark my curiosity and appreciation. Plus there are so many delightful varieties, such as Golden Oriole, Willow Warbler, European Nightjar, Merlin, Tree Pipit, Bullfinch and Pied Flycatcher, and even the less fantastically named still just sound so right: crow, starling, woodpecker, magpie, sparrow, wren.
If that hasn’t swayed you, simply try to imagine a world without them; it’s impossible because birds are everywhere, omnipresent occupiers of the heavens and earth, trees and scrub. They’re even part of how we unwind in the comfort of our own homes, or are you seriously telling me you’ve never sipped Famous Grouse, eaten a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, sung along with Big Bird on Sesame Street, listened to The Housemartins or played Angry Birds at some point in your life? (And come on, I bet you use Twitter too.)
So the next time you’re in the supermarket, why not buy a treat for our winged friends? Without them there would be far less cheer in our lives, and far more worms squirming in our gardens.