Close Encounter

Here in the U.K. our first lockdown was quite the experience to go through. It was often eerily quiet with the majority of people unable to work. Large swathes of the population simply stayed indoors and those of us who took our daily exercise allowance found that the streets were often theirs.

Within weeks, people started noticing that in amongst all the quiet, birdsong was prominent. Suddenly, with no traffic noise, the sound of birds singing and chirping became noticeably louder. And I think lots of us found that fantastic. At the time, the weather was great and I can distinctly remember that we would do our Joe Wicks workout from 9am and then afterwards we’d go and do some stretches to warm down in the garden. Listening to the birds at that point become a regular part of our day.

Life has moved on since that point. We’re back in lockdown, but there’s a distinct difference; more people out and about, more cars and less in the way of wildlife as a result. This all changed for a fantastic few minutes for me on a recent Sunday afternoon. The pictures tell the story, but I’ll fill in the gaps. I had been meaning to fill up our bird feeders for a couple of weeks, but just hadn’t got round to it. However, I had a bit of time on this particular Sunday, so I wrapped up and out I went. As soon as I’d done, I felt like I was being watched. And then I heard some beautiful birdsong. Closer inspection of our tree revealed a small bird and when I watched for a further few seconds, I could see it was a robin. What happened next was just lovely and the poem tell the tale for me.

Close Encounter

I hear you before I see you,
a bright chirping preceding your bright feathers,
and then, only feet away, fearless, your red breast makes you known.

The feeders full, you're first to the banquet,
yet it seems you want to pause a while to chat.
I move slowly, but needn't bother as you simply stand and stare,
perfectly relaxed about our meeting despite your vulnerability.

Perhaps you're thanking me for the food.
Perhaps you're just wondering why I'm still here and why this took so long.
I neither know nor care; you've made my day,
brightened a cold and gloomy Sunday afternoon.

Robin. Little bird not even the size of a tennis ball,
yet bold enough to sit within arms length and attempt to hold a conversation,
I could stay here and stare at you for hours.

It doesn’t seem like much happened, but it was just a lovely few minutes. I didn’t even think to write about it until I posted some pictures of the robin on social media and a friend suggested it. Thanks Ruth!

I can’t stress enough just how close this bird got. I think it comes out in the images, but, if it doesn’t it was about three feet away. Close enough to make itself known, but far enough away to show it was still a little wary of me.

At first, as I tried to take pictures, the robin jumped down from the tree and would settle on a branch of a shrub below just long enough for me to see it, and then jump off. It was like it was toying with me. Then, after a minute or so, it just perched on a branch just above head height and started to sing at me, allowing me to click away and take some pictures. Annoyingly, I didn’t think to video it, instead spending a few minutes just watching – and yes, alright, I talked to it as well – before heading back inside, content to leave the robin alone and go and tell my wife about what had just happened.

I’m hoping to see it again and have another chat this weekend. Let me know what you think of the poem in the comments.

Author: middleagefanclub

Man, husband, dad, teacher, coach, Geordie. Former street dancing champion of Tyne and Wear, guinea pig whisperer, developer of the best-selling fragrance, Pizzazz and alleged liar. Ex male model and a devilish raconteur. No challenge should be faced without a little charm and a lot of style.

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