All the comforts

What’ll you have?

Up here on the high fellside, our beloved neighbour has developed his artistic hobby to a high degree, and intriguing birdhouses line the walls of our sheds. This one, a verbatim copy of my man-cave, the eponymous ‘Elf Hole,’ delivered with aplomb on my birthday, is meant to accommodate a friendly blue tit family.

When I fill the feeders for the garden birds, I try to remember to distribute a few kernels and seeds around the little bar too, to encourage investigation of the premises. By the time nesting season arrives, the place should be familiar enough, we hope, to see a take-up of our offer. Or, if not, it’s still a brilliant conversation piece!

What resonance mimicry elicits in our minds. Contemporary neurological research has pointed at ‘mirror neurones’ which trigger in sympathy with an action we see. That is, if we observe someone lifting a heavy box, for example, our own neurones, the ones we’d use ourselves for the same activity, are also activated. Some of us have a highly developed capacity for mimicry; the actors in our family are delightful examples of that!

But I don’t think I can realistically imagine that I could inveigle a blue tit to imbibe a tiny pint of beer, or to have a friendly conversation with me on the bar stool, warming our feet by the fire. That’s probably a few steps too far on the mimicry continuum. On the other hand, a warm nest box, protected from the constant wind, a perch to land on, and enough identification markings to ensure it’s easy to find their way home, might be sufficient to hope that a family could set up housekeeping in the beautiful model of our little homely pub.

Otherwise, as I may have mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of hedgerow to build a nest in! Good luck little garden birds, you’re very welcome to set up your nests in our garden, to find your own joy, in whichever niche you feel most comfortable.

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