4 June 2018

Poem

"A study has found that France has lost a third of its songbirds over the past fifteen years..."
- BBC News  18/5/18
To A Woodlark

The last birdsong I ever heard
Was that of a woodlark
Half-hidden by foliage
When I stopped for a tinkle
At a lay-by on the A165
Tremulous and plaintive
Like a cry for help
He sang in solitary shade
Taking me back
To those days of yore
When summer walks
We'll take mo more
Were orchestral with
Incantations intertwining
Mellifluous and sweet
A twittering of tweets
That echoed around
The ancient forests
Of our ancestry
When there were skylarks and robins
Mistle thrush and cawing rook
Warbler and wren
Their melodies mingling
In timeless refrains...
On yes I shall remember that woodlark's song
In this aching quietness that remains
Never to hear another one
Now that the singing is all done.

27 comments:

  1. If I dwell too much on what has happened to our wildlife it makes me so sad.
    I have lived here in the same house for 53 years and in that time we have lost the owls that used to live on the railway embankment (now deplete of any green at all). Bats used to fly up and down the street at night. House martins regularly nested unde the eves of the corner off license. Swifts flew freely up and down the road. Thrushes and Blackbirds sang from the tv arials. Simply loads of sparrows loved the privet all around next doors house.
    All gone....
    I have not seen a great tit in our trees outside this year and all this makes me feel so unhappy.
    Practically every front garden up and down the road has been decked, paved or had those chips put in them. Gone are the flowers and hedges.
    Rant over.
    Briony
    x
    Briony
    x

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  2. The birdsong that accompanies me on my early morning walks with Rick is sublime, I just wish the Redstarts would learn to sing in tune.

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    1. I guess that redtrat singing is an acquired taste.

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  3. Don't make me cry, YP! (Seriously, like Briony, I find the state of wildlife awfully upsetting these days.) We do still have lots of birds in our garden, fortunately, but rather more pigeons and starlings than I would ideally like.

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    1. I doubt that a soppy poem could ever make a rough-tough tobacco spittin' librarian cry.

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  4. Oddly enough, we've been seeing more birds and a greater variety of birds at our backyard feeders than ever before. Right now fledgling cardinals, house finches, grackles, house sparrows, and mourning doves have all been frequenting our seed buffet along with their parents. It's funny to see a baby cardinal begging to an adult grackle or a squirrel! :) In addition to the family groups, we've also seen adult titmice, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, and even some bluebirds (although the bluebirds are not at the feeders). We've also seen more fireflies this year than ever before. The only thing we haven't seen (at all!) are hummingbirds.

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    1. You are very fortunate Jennifer. Do not be surprised if your house is surrounded by angry French bird watchers demanding their songbirds back.

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  5. I have never lived anywhere as long as here on my mountain. There are not many songbirds that dwell here at this altitude but some at least pass through in the spring. A very few even stay long enough to give birth to fledgelings. One of the things I will enjoy when we move down the slope is more songbirds talking to me when I am quiet.

    Our area has changed so much in other ways. People have moved in and thrown out some wildflower seeds that the elk avoid so much that they have changed the pathways that used to show their yearly track. The fox have died off in the last four years because of mange which means we have had an explosion of chipmunk and rabbit.

    Progress?

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    1. Yes...progress but progress to what? I shudder to think. Even now some of New Zealand's most amazing creatures can only be seen in a museum. And what did Joni Mitchell sing?
      … They took all the trees
      And put 'em in a tree museum
      And they charged the people
      A dollar and a half just to see 'em…

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  6. This is so very sad. A third of the songbirds gone in a mere fifteen years. What do we lose in a lifetime. How sad for the birds and other creatures. How sad for our future generations. You don't know what you have until you lose it.

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    1. And that's another thing that Joni Mitchell sang in "Big Yellow Taxi".... "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?"

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  7. I have been surprised to hear the trilling done by the house finches here. Plus we have mockingbirds. Still lots of birdsong in Arizona.

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    1. Apparently, there is much evidence that points to a rapid decline in songbird numbers in Arizona Mr C. It sounds like they have avoided the ornithologists by congregating at your mansion.

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  8. Fortunately, around here where I live birds are prolific in number and variety, and melodious in song. Often, at night, owls can be heard conversing in the trees in the vacant bushland across the way. They've many a wise tale to share.

    I hope it stays this way...sometimes "hope" is all we have, as flimsy and as flighty as it appears to be.

    Everything is changing. Frustratingly and sadly, it's not always for the better....

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    1. You are fortunate to still have so many birds in your neighbourhood Lee for this was a line from The Sydney Morning Herald in 2015:- "Sightings of some of Australia's most common birds, including those that have inspired folk songs and become mascots of football teams, are decreasing in parts of Australia, according to a major report on the health of the country's bird population."

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    2. Well...that was 2015...and perhaps the article referred to the city of Sydney. Where I live is not a city...it really is mostly rural.

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  9. Thoughtful. Things are disappearing while we listen!

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    1. Pesticides, herbicides, loss of habitat, mobile phone signals, sourcing food, pet cats, foxes, climate change, shooting. It's so hard to be a songbird these days.

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  10. I saw a robin hopping on my balcony this past winter; so precious it was like a gift.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Let's hope you see her in the winter ahead.

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  11. I remember my grandpa's garden having Willy Wagtails, Blue Wrens and Sparrows. My kids are so unfamiliar with all of them that they think ordinary sparrows are exotic.
    It's happening every where

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    1. In the thirty years we have lived in this house we have continuously watched the birds in our garden and seen the decline. We never see starlings any more.

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  12. £0 years ago Corncrakes were heard every year here on Lewis. I can't recall when I last heard one. Those near my house have gone which is odd because the land is now wild; the sheep having gone too.

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    Replies
    1. Birds have had so much to contend with in this overpopulated world.

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