Bird’s song mu­sic to your ears

Sale & Altrincham Advertiser - - WILDLIFE -

ONE of the great joys of walk­ing in the coun­try­side is catch­ing a glimpse of a thrush – or even bet­ter hear­ing a song thrush belt­ing out a song.

I was lucky enough to have a close-up per­for­mance from one of th­ese beau­ti­ful birds just the other day.

It hopped on to a gatepost and sang at me as I wan­dered past with the dog. Even as I stood for a while to lis­ten, it con­tin­ued to ‘sew’, ‘tic’ and ‘tchew’ its repet­i­tive aria. It was spell­bind­ing.

The mis­tle thrush’s song from the top of a tree is de­scribed as ‘mo­not­o­nous’ by many bird­ers and po­ets, while the song thrush’s rep­e­ti­tion of notes can sound like a flute com­ing from lower branches. I sup­pose it all de­pends on whether you have a clas­si­cal ear, but I like the way they both add to the mix of a dawn cho­rus mash-up.

Our an­ces­tors nick­named the mis­tle thrush the storm­cock be­cause it is quite happy to sing in the rain.

So it just doesn’t care if you think its rel­a­tives sound nicer, it just wants to tell us how won­der­ful it is feel­ing.

Thrushes are fairly easy to spot. Re­lated to – and about the same size as – black­birds, they have dis­tinc­tive spotty chests and dark backs and wings.

The mis­tle thrush is big­ger, with more grey to its plumage and pale spots on its belly. Th­ese spots are more streaky on the song thrush, which ac­tu­ally look the more solid and ro­bust of the two. Many of the mis­tle thrush’s wing feath­ers are edged with white, adding to that paler colour­ing of the whole bird.

The spots on their bel­lies look like up­side­down hearts be­com­ing more like droplets on the song thrush.

You are more likely to see a song thrush in your gar­den and they are more com­mon than mis­tle thrushes. The handy Lan­cashire Bird At­las es­ti­mates 18,000 song thrushes in the re­gion with 10,000 mis­tle thrushes. Song thrush num­bers have de­creased by 73 per cent in farm­land and 49pc in the UK.

How­ever there has been a resur­gence in re­cent years – which is mu­sic to the ears.

Thrushes are good for gar­den­ers by eat­ing in­sects, snails and worms as well as berries – that is why we have grown them. Mis­tle thrushes are named af­ter their love of mistle­toe and they have been put for­ward as the ‘true bird of Christ­mas’ for this very rea­son.

For­tu­nately a ten­dency to keep song thrushes as pets is now against the law. Peo­ple kept them in cages to lis­ten to their won­der­ful songs.

How self­ish and shame­ful to de­prive oth­ers of this beau­ti­ful, nat­u­ral mu­sic.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.