The Birds of the Air

Michael McCarthy, writing in The Independent  on Monday, commented on the lack of birdsong at this time of year:

This happens across the bird world, and the reason is simple: the business of mating and breeding is over and done with, and song is no longer needed. (An exception is the robin, which carries on singing as it defends its territory right through winter). 

To be sure, walking to Mass at the Franciscan International Study Centre this morning, we passed audibly through at least four robin territories. Fence posts and hawthorns seemed to be favoured singing posts today.

But there is another bird that’s singing – though maybe McCarthy would not call it singing – the starling. These sociable creatures caught my ear on a sunny afternoon last Autumn and again one evening this week, on my way to post a letter. Nothing, so far as I could tell, to do with territory, for they were in a group of twenty or more on roof-top aerials and happy enough in each other’s company. But singing they were, alleluia!


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