When I lived in the UK, I didn’t really notice the birds in my garden, although I have always considered myself a bird watcher, or word botcher, as the late Humphrey Littleton once said on a show. Word botcher for ornithologist, I nearly fell off my chair, because words and languages really are a passion of mine, probably my first love.
Anyway, I have become a bit of a bird watcher since living in Thailand, because our garden attracts so many birds we don’t have in the UK. The problem here is identifying them. I have just been watching a tiny bird that resembles a small wren washing in a little rainwater left over from last night in a leaf.
We also had some rare birds nesting in our garden. Last year, they were safe(ish) in the back garden, this year they moved to a small tree bordering a neighbour. It is two yards from my office window and I watched them build their nest three feet above my line of sight. I think they were bulbuls: dark grey on top, light mottled grey underneath with white patches on their eyes and a black crest. Pictures on the Internet do not show the crests, which is why I am uncertain.
They are remarkable songbirds, and frequently kept in cages. One went for £20,000 two years ago. Anyway, ours have gone now too, but I suspect that the neighbours stole them and their eggs to sell for two or three months’ net wages. Either that or a snake took one of them, causing the other to abandon the nest. I used to see them ten times a day, but I haven’t seen them at all for three days now.
It may sound daft, but I would rather that a snake got them than the neighbours did.
However, my next favourites are the Indian Mynahs! We have dozens of these cheeky, noisy birds picking the dog’s bowl clean every morning, squawking and screeching if she has not left them enough. They are bottle green and black with white flashes on their wings which become visible when they land or take off.
They are comical, in the way that starlings can be. I was amazed to hear that they are considered pests in Australia, because they bring me so much joy.
Word botchers, and bird watchers of the world unite!
Which reminds me, ‘Asian Shorts’ is now 49% full with two more promises of stories given today. If you or any of your friends have a contribution, please get your skates on.
All the best,
Podcast: Word Botchers