Despite the presence of prowling predator Cat Akers, the canny bird population in our garden know they are on to a good thing. There is the usual supply of seeds and nuts suspended from the apple tree, which make for a feeding frenzy when they are topped up as the family of four jackdaws who live on next door’s chimney dive down one at a time, not giving the smaller birds a look-in.
The bluetits, great tits, long-tailed tits and coal tits aren’t too concerned though. They have their own supply which I try to put out of reach of the bullying birds, the squirrel and the odd rat. Well, you know what they say, you’re never more than eight metres from a rat. And how long is our garden? That’s right, eight metres. Eww.
Then there’s Hilda. Hilda is our blackbird, she’s made our garden her own. Each morning, without fail, she has a bath in the plastic tray I left hanging around long enough for it to fill with water. And what a bath she has she even cleans behind her ears, there’s water everywhere, Cat is, like, whatever, preferring his meals to be served without feathers in a dish in the comfort of the kitchen. Herbert, her partner, doesn’t so much as bath, but look at the water, dip his foot in as if that’s quite enough cleaning for one day, and flies off, I assume to the bird pub down the road to shoot some pool with his pals.
Once she’s had a bath, she perches on the compost bin which is warm and full of worms. She’s not in the least bit afraid of me, in fact I think she sees me as her personal chef, digging the garden, unearthing worms and other wriggly things. On a good day I can do that without running down the garden shouting agh! aghhhhh creepy crawlies! but that’s only a good day.
Today, as the sun shone and I did my first serious gardening this year. Hilda was there, she was so close, I could almost touch her. No fear, just a healthy appetite. She had her bath, then ate her worms, Herbert lost out, he was too busy showing off with all that singing and chirping. Hilda knows which side her worm is buttered. She certainly has all mod cons.