When sharing a small island with nearly 200 000 birds, it isn’t hard for birds to be a constant daily reference point in life on the island. They are everywhere and you notice them and what they are doing. Their daily and seasonal lives mark out our time on the island. It is a morning in early June when the eiders wake you up with their “muck, muck, muck ” conversations across Fluke Street. It is June/early July when the puffins accidentally drop their fish on your head when being chased by gulls. It is 0700 in the morning in the first week in September when small parties of meadow pipits and hirundines flick over the island going south. It is late April / May when the sound of the male eiders “woohoo” comes up from the loch. It is last light when the gulls clamour on the south plateau. After a while you tune in with the birds and they are part of your everyday life. In a novel I read recently called “The Bird Skinner” by Alice Greenway (nice sketches by Darren Woodhead as well) the lead character noticed and reference birds wherever he went and I felt that was similar to us out here on the island.
But this can also happen on the mainland once you have become bird focused. As you go about your life look out for the birds that are all around us. Most people don’t notice them but if you switch on your bird sense you will start to see them. And why bother?
– well you get a satisfaction of feeling more in-tune with your natural surrounds and this is healthy for the mind,
– you get the satisfaction of seeing things others don’t,
– you might just see something beautiful,