Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Magpies make a kind of chittering noise

At least, they do when they're fighting in the playground near the house.

The sound is quite bland, in stark contrast to the massive range of musical twitterings, chirps and whistles that blackbirds make, as evidenced on Kate Bush's Aerial CDs.

I've become more fascinated by birdsong of late, having realised that I can recognise a tiny handful of birds by their songs. That is, I can recognise relatively few bird types from their songs; I don't go 'round seizing handfuls of our little avian friends.

Pheasants, for instance, have a distinctive sort of squawk that I often hear from the woods and fields near me. It's quite satisfying to recognise that particular sound, as I associate it with the countryside, and the area where I live. I was surprised last week to realise that the pheasant squawk is not that dis-similar to the noise that peacocks make, when the ones at Priory Court made their spring reappearance.

And I think I heard a cuckoo some time last week, calling in the field near the railway line. Is it the time of year for cuckoos? Or was it some sort of demented wood pigeon?

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