Today I am feeling sad and upset. This evening we were pleased to see a young magpie and a wood pigeon making use of our newly refilled bird feeders and the bird bath in our garden. We’d love a greater variety of small birds in the garden, and last year we did have blue tits nesting and using the feeders. Sadly that’s not the case this year but we’re happy to have bird life in the garden in any shape and size, and we hope that by putting food out for the birds we will attract a variety of birds in time (or may be already while we’re not in the kitchen to disturb them!). And we’re not alone in feeding our garden birds. A survey by the RSPB found that over half of all adults in the UK put food out for their garden birds.
Unfortunately not everyone shares our viewpoint or passion for nature. This evening we found our next door neighbour poking her head over the fence as she nailed plastic spikes to the top of it to stop the birds sitting on it.
Last year the same neighbour placed CDs in her tree to stop the blue tits sitting in it. We asked her not to put the spikes up, especially as it is a shared fence, but she refused and carried on hammering. She told us that we were bad neighbours for feeding the birds and that they belonged in the woods over there not here in our garden. I tried to explain that over half of adults fed the birds and that birds were in decline, but she was not interested. I’m feeling pretty disheartened and upset and was shaking and close to tears after our altercation. I just don’t really understand how someone can feel so vindictive towards our wild creatures. Our neighbour says this is because they poop on the fence and the cars, but we have never had bird poo on the cars here, and ours are parked right next to hers, and there is rarely poo on our shed, where the birds often sit, or the fence in our garden, or at the back of the property, where they also sit facing into the garden, bum out, as they would into her garden if they were looking for food in our garden.
Nature does not belong out there, we share the wild creatures world and the combined size of our gardens is much bigger than any nature reserves, so welcoming nature in is key to keeping our biodiversity. This incident isn’t going to stop me feeding our garden birds, but it does make me very sad.
Our random act of wildness for tonight was to be going out with the bat detector, but it is cold and blustery, with hardly any insects out and about so we’ve saved that for another night. Instead, we’ve calmed down and cheered ourselves up with a dose of Springwatch and a spot of colouring, which isn’t just for kids! I have an animals zen colouring book for grown ups.
Phil and I took a page each and had a relaxing time colouring in a “wild” picture, bugs for me, chameleons for him. And just like feeding the garden birds, we’re not the only adults doing it. In March this year, adult colouring books topped the bestseller charts in the UK. Colouring has been proven to be beneficial, as it generates wellness and quietness, stimulating the brain areas related to creativity. It’s really relaxing, and a chance to slow down and do something you don’t have to think about too much.
I’m feeling calmer now, although still sad, but the colouring in definitely helped. Hoping for more wild fun tomorrow, the challenge continues….