The Birds on my Street

by Suzan Abrams

I wrote these excerpts on the real-life antics of the birds on my street. The street on which I live is always rich with birdsong, no matter the turn of the weather or season.

I wrote these pieces for 2 bloggers, whose posts I particularly enjoyed.

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Dublin brightens up at 3.45am and I went out to sit in the garden to read a novel. It was a poignant moment and I can’t always catch it on time. All the different birds were up and having a ball in the trees. Even an inquisitive gull which had found its way from the nearby Liffy River was lording it over the rest with noisy shrieks, from a chimney top. Time stood still and I was at peace with the world.
Two hours later, the scene changed, the birds had fled and so too, the virgin sky. The magic may never have happened.

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The gulls this side of town are loud and domineering especially towards other species of birds. The one that escaped its crowd in the early dawn hours, thought it owned our street. For instance, it refused to shout its declarations anywhere but atop a chimney!

Hopefully, tomorrow it finds Belfast a more exciting turnaround.

If you go someday to Melbourne, Australia, and wait for a train at the historic Flinders Railway Station, the gulls from the nearby Yarra River may well attempt to grab any food they spot in your hand or else, gather beseechingly around with expressions that may imply imploring or starving… to make you think they hadn’t eaten for days.

I also often get the feeling, of excitement or a childlike wonder at the sudden turn of a day for example… a thunderstorm at an unexpected moment, or cold winds lashing in after a string of warm days.

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A group of fun-seeking gulls from the nearby Liffey River hoping for a to-die-for July tan, have settled on our thatched roofs, chimney tops and also on a row of shaky geranium pots belonging to a cantankerous and bent little old lady two doors away. They think of her window sill as a dormitory.

It’s a bit of a Greek wedding atmosphere at the moment, what with her shouts and broomsticks and her sudden straightening of posture and too, the breaking of plates.

The gulls have been duped by their holiday brochures and think my stone ledge is the promenade for Rio’s Copacabana Beach. What a party and how often they’ve sauntered around tipsy and in the buff by too much mossy water in the bird-bath, which they were promised was a jacuzzi.

But times are hard. As a result, the worms have turned to mining and scuttled down deep in the burrows. The fish in the Liffey have migrated to the North Seas…prosperous careers are rumoured to be had, as handsome Cod Liver Oil lotions, all nicely buttoned no I mean… bottled up!

I’ve been told the gossip by an irate Irish Coal Tit – higher up the pecking order with its beautifully turned out plumage and a respected citizen among the sparrows who rule our street – that the unruly flock are of a backpacker variety…light travellers on a shoestring budget. No comfy nests or leafy parasols are included with the holiday price.

The gulls in their fury are a wonderful weather vane for the rains. What a loud clatter they make on the roof…all that fuss and noise about wanting their money back once they spot a storm brewing. They swear abuse at the puzzled nimbus. They loudly caw up a devious plan to raid the premises of a swallow who ran a dodgy winged-for-rooftops holiday scheme up north on the Howth coast. The bad hat has since flown off on a one-way ticket with another shapely bird to sunny Africa.

The gulls have asked if I could courier an extradiction notice to a suspect address in the Kilimanjaro where the swallow may just be living it up in the wild. I’ve said no and kept myself to myself. But the other day, an insistent matronly one with a buxomy breast that would be in high danger come the prospect of a Thanksgiving dinner; peeped into Des’s loft, wondering if I had put the kettle on and if the crook of a swallow had been in touch with Africa Telecoms.

But thank God for small mercies and the frustrated party of gulls, I say. Why, my laundry and I are warned of a downpour in good time and remain humbly indebted to this facade of a swinging Brazilian seascape on my doorstep.

Credits: Free clip art of birds/weather, courtesy of A Perfect World, Webweaver, InternetClipart.com & BestAnimations.com.

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