The wind is howling. Horizontal rain flies into the side of buildings and the sky is grey. Despite this I sit quite comfortably observing some small garden birds busy at the new feeder and birdhouse I have installed.
What’s even better is that I’m bone dry. This is all done from the comfort of my kitchen with the aroma of fresh coffee enveloping me like a warm blanket on this winters day. I have brought a little piece of the wild to my back yard.
I know that I have an idea in my head that “the wild” begins anywhere 30 minutes outside of Belfast. What I failed to recognise before is that the wild is all around us and with a little observation and a few small changes it is possible to connect with the wild in the concrete woodland of any town centre.
On any camping or Bivi expedition, for me, one of the highlights is going to sleep looking at the stars and waking up to the sound of birdsong. There is something inherently connected to nature in both these things. There is a connectedness to nature that fuels much of my outdoor adventure.
In a bid to bring a little of this to my home life I decided that waking up to a chorus of birdsong would be a fine thing to encourage in my own backyard.
A few pounds and a trip to a DIY store later I had transformed my barren back yard into a mini playground for garden birds with the help of some feeders and a birdhouse.
….. Then nothing happened.
Patience is not a particular strong point of mine so I tentatively waited for a few days: each morning tentatively awakening with all the excitement of a child on Christmas morning.
….. Still nothing happened.
Mornings came and went with no visitors to my habitat. Enthusiasm wained. When my girlfriend asked about any new visitors to the back yard I had lost hope and apathetically replied “mmmmeh”
The project was in my own mind mothballed and confined to the hall of shame where all my great unfinished projects gather to mock me: the guitar in the attic, those rollerblades. The crystal radio that is unfinished and no doubt will cause a bomb scare one day.
Then one day in the slumber that proceeds coffee I spied something unusual in the yard from the kitchen. A small Blue Tit purched on the bird feeder tucking in. I could have sworn there was a moment the bird looked my direction as if to say “cracking spot”
Within a few weeks many other small garden birds had taken to the back yard and while I’m perhaps a while away from waking up to the chorus of birdsong I have brought a little part of the wild closer to me.