Town Planning with Birds

Last week was freezing and the birds were lined up pleadingly. I suspect they got together and asked the robin to sing its heart out on top of the arch over the gate to get us to break out with another round of fat balls.

Today, there is just a touch of spring in the air – not to be relied on of course – but it does remind you that it won’t be long before they are dashing about with estate agent prospectuses in their beaks looking for a nice place to build starter homes.

The Virginia creeper was a fave with the blackbirds and one year we woke up to find that the bit near our bedroom window had collapsed, exposing a nest of startled blackbird fledglings. Nick propped it back up, and all was well.

The following year though, we had building work done and they had to make do with the climbing Hydrangea – but everyone has to downsize now and then.

We put one of those nest boxes with a camera in it (a nice Christmas present from the son) in just the place they used.

Not a dicky bird as they say.

Nests built above and below it, but an assiduous avoidance of being watched.

The back hedge though is the garden’s housing estate with numerous sparrows and tits in residence.

They make a great racket so I presume there are neighbour boundary disputes and the avian equivalent of kids of bikes and BBQs in the back garden.

The only time it is ever quiet is when the Sparrow Hawk comes over. It is an impressive sight to see every little sparrow face clamp its beak shut and dive for cover.

The Sparrow Hawk uses the back hedge like a tapas bar  – but then its name is rather a give away.

Anyway, all this is leading to the fact that we have to cut a significant section out of that back hedge if we are to build the platform which will be the basis of our George Clark style Amazing Space.

We have a fabulous view from a ladder perched against that hedge but want something a little more stable and able to accommodate more than one person at once.

I have visions of something which will act as a spare bedroom-cum- study-cum- place to sit on a small verandah watching the Downs.

The man himself is starting out with a platform and a couple of deck chairs.

Either way, if we are to build it, the hedge needs to come down and before the residents start re-building their nests.

I hasten to add , there are plenty of other hedges all round the garden but persuading someone to reduce their recreational space so you can squeeze in a three-chick home next twig, may take some negotiating.

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