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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

From the High Seat; Angry Birds

I have a theory which I believe is well founded enough to share with you: birds make mistakes!

For as long as I can remember, the alarm calls of ‘angry birds’ has been an extension of my own senses whilst sitting in a high seat, often in low light conditions. I like to arrive early, very early and the hour between arrival and having enough light to shoot, is enough time for anything disturbed by my arrival, to settle down again.

In the dark, all of your non visual senses can appear to be enhanced, hearing is the primary one but occasionally you will get a whiff of fox too. You can hear the footfall of animals, the thrashing of antlers in bushes and the call of every kind of wildlife, rabbits thumping, deer barking, every kind of bird call and the staccato drumming of woodpeckers. My personal favourites are owls and wood peckers.

Thrushes like blackbirds or this fieldfare are often very vocal and their alarm calls are a good sign that something is moving in the woods. 

I have found the most useful to be Wrens, Robins and Blackbirds. The very essence of these tactical accomplices, is that the birds mistake small deer for foxes and therefore give them the same kind of verbal abuse that they would a fox! Recently I was on an outing with a novice and was able to explain the alarm calls of these little spies, the first chorus was fairly high in the trees and fast moving, these were driving out an unwelcome owl. The second however, was lower and slow moving as I suggested that these may be concerned about a fox, which may actually be a small deer walking through the undergrowth. My suggestion was spot on and a minute or two later a little Muntjac trotted in to view and paused briefly to breakfast on a little pile of wheat which I had strategically placed near the high seat.

Muntjac are often mistaken for foxes by humans and birds seem to be just as confused as we are sometimes. 

Go ahead and team up with the ‘Angry Birds’ and see if you agree!

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