The short poem was written while I was listening to Radio 4’s six and a half hour broadcast of birdsong from Ireland, India, Austria and Somerset* and to the dawn chorus in my own garden here in Derbyshire.
*the bittern sounds like a small ship’s distant foghorn.
Birds at Dawn
The creaky springs of a corncrake
the flute breath of a bittern
whirl whistle calls
squeaking and chirruping
low vibrato caws, like reprimands,
the busy conversation of birds.
In April I saw a small owl flying at dusk, a blackbird with beakfulls of geranium stem stubble and sanderlings (which have a distinctive “twick, twick, twick call) in Wyver Pool. According to my bird book these latter are birds of the high Arctic where they go to breed in the summer. In May I saw a large tern (pointed wings) flying eastwards towards the river, also blue tits and a long-tailed tit.
A blackbird is very keen on the fruit peel I put out for the birds (they like apple or orange). Remember, with such little rain lately, it is good to provide some water in your garden for the birds. Tap water should ideally rest for 48 hours in an open bucket before using to get rid of the chlorine.