|A jackdaw keeps a beady eye on what’s occurring down below|
|We have wood pigeons too. Just daring us to plant brassicas|
|Mrs Blackbird, gathering nest material|
www.votenationalbird.com/ for your preferred option from the shortlist of ten – the robin (odds-on favourite) is joined by the blackbird, hen harrier, swan, barn owl, red kite, puffin, kingfisher, blue tit and wren. Some impressive contenders – I’m unlike to forget the red kite that hung in the air over above my head as I worked a few weeks ago – but I can’t help feeling that winner should be more ubiquitous than necessarily handsome. Mercifully the feral pigeon, which would surely be returned as the result under this criteria, is not on the list. I think I’d go with the blackbird, but don’t let me sway you. I will say this, however: the puffin’s never going to get it, let’s face it. It’s a wonderful bird with a fascinating song, but who wants their country to be represented by a creature that looks like Dustin Hoffman in a dressing gown?
Sadly, the sparrow didn’t make it through to this stage. I keep hearing that the sparrow population in the UK is in terminal decline. I think they’re all in my garden.
|A fluffy-looking female house sparrow – a bit too early for a fledgling|
|The male sparrow, having a peck at the flowers on Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'|