Our Personal Eco-Oasis

Cars queue to wreck our world.

We have all heard the song, A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square. I had heard that nightingales have now colonised Berlin, although in our square behind the splendid turn of the century front, I have rarely heard a nightingale. However, woodpeckers, flocks of sparrows and starlings, various tits and finches, crows, (including jackdaws) and at least one owl have made themselves at home in our 50m x 100m oblong.

They are helped by the fact that no predator has easy access – not even cats and foxes – and vital is the casual garden architecture adopted by the various condominiums which make up the oblong.

What do the birds live from? The owl has no problem finding rats – this is a big city and only after years of defence building can we keep them out our cellars. The sparrows and starlings manage to find enough seed material from the grass etc. and the woodpecker enjoys devastating the fat-balls put out for the tits and finches. Woody woodpecker usually gets through one in around half a minute. It’s quite spectacular.

The crows remain a mystery, but I assume they are casual visitors and find their food elsewhere – only dropping in for visits. There is plenty of pickings from the fast-food joints on the T-Damm. They also have the run of the green strips between the dual carriageway outside our house.

It’s probably not such a big contribution that we are making, but it shows that these animals are adapting and will use whatever is around, to survive. In my 1966 edition of the Observers Book of Birds, jackdaws were only to be found on cliffs in Scotland. I doubt that was ever true but –

knock yourselves out, homo sapiens. There are plenty out there waiting to take over from your folly.

And they will adapt better than we will.

Published by Clive La Pensée

Clive La Pensée, ex-science teacher, recognised writer on history of beer, novelist, expressionist, dreamer, believer in never giving up, empathiser, hopeful for a future without class, gender or racial prejudice. It's tough and at the moment, one has to remember distance travelled, rather than where we are at.

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