An unsettling experience


I have friends who really don’t like birds. If birds accidentally come into a room or building and start flapping frantically to escape these friends get the horrors. These friends don’t like the unflinching gaze that birds can give you either, especially the silver-eyed crows with their razor-sharp beaks and “attitude”.

I like birds, but even I get unsettled by them on occasion. This week the birds have sensed the change that’s been forecast and have been gathering in huge flocks in the trees that line the creek.


I wasn’t aware of them at first until I heard a rustle … rustle … rustle of leaves. It was like the trees had come to life and were about to pull their roots out of the ground and start lumbering around the city.


For the stretch of creek about a hundred yards east of the Chatham Road bridge to the end of the tree line there must have been upwards of a hundred birds hopping discretely through the foliage. I had the definite sense that they were following me …

I’ll be glad when this change blows through and they all go off to hibernate at the bottom of the sea or turn into mice or whatever it is they do in winter. Which was an entirely true story, until the Pfeilstorch landed in a small German town, with an 80 cm African spear through its neck. Which must have been more unsettling for the stork than for the human, but I digress.