Starlings, rooks, and other familiars

MARCH 20 05

It is well known that starlings are good mimics of sounds they regularly hear. As the sun was setting I looked up to a particularly vocal starling perched on the corner of the guttering giving a perfect rendition of a seagull. Years ago I was woken several times by the phone ringing, except it wasn't ringing. I thought at first I must have dreamed it ringing, until I heard a starling on the window-ledge that had captured the sound of my phone.

The other day I heard about an old woman curious about the rooks carrying away the walnuts from her walnut tree. They make a little hole in the husk so they can fly off with one stuck on the end of their beaks. I have heard that in Japan they perch with walnuts on the top of traffic lights and when the colour changes they drop the walnuts in the path of the oncoming traffic, swooping down after the cars have passed to pick out pieces of nut from the smashed shells.

I have reduced my life to so little I have only the birds and the flowers to talk about, and the moon and the stars and the insects and the clouds and the trees. I don't think I'm interested in anything else any more.

A tramp on a bicycle passes my window. Don't usually see tramps on bicycles.