Last month whilst staying with my father I hid behind the Venetian blinds and poked my camera lens through to see what was occurring at the bird feeders. There were several phases of activity when several birds arrived at the same time.
This very beautiful long-tailed tit, timid and nervous, only really managed to tuck in once the other birds had flown away.
Then a noisy chattering of starlings (well six or seven) turned up to muscle their way in.
After initially flying away the long-tailed tit eventually plucked up enough courage to fly back and hang onto the feeder and wait for his turn again. He obviously knew his place in the pecking order.
Not all the birds were interested in the fat ball. The greenfinches were happy to peck away at the sunflower seeds. Much to my amusement I did see the starlings make an attempt at landing on the perches, but they were too big, and, after unsuccessfully flapping around and wasting energy, they gave up and returned to the fat ball.
The beautiful illuminated Flemish manuscript, the Huth Hours (c.1485), not only has delightful representations of flowers decorating its margins, but every now and then a bird or animal is depicted within the ornamentation.
Starling detail from the Huth Hours. Flemish 1485-1490. Add. MS38126 f244r
Starling having a splashing time.
Thought to have been produced in either Ghent or Bruges over five hundred and thirty years ago, the Huth Hours contains many miniatures as well as pages of text with decorated borders. It is considered to be the work of Simon Marmion and his workshop in collaboration with other unnamed Master artisans.
Young Great Tit
Great Tit detail from the Huth Hours. Flemish 1485-1490. Add. MS38126 f.179r
Five hundred and thirty years ago sounds a long time to us, but it’s less than a blink of an eye for Mother Nature. Spying birds in the finely decorated margins such as starlings and great tits, and then spying the same species in my back garden evoked a wistful sigh from me as I contemplated the cycling of the years and the passing of the centuries.
Possibly a Blue Tit detail from the Huth Hours. Flemish 1485-1490. Add. MS38126 f.156r
Blue Tit at the bird bath.