The House Guest
I blame my grandparents personally. When I was around 9 years of age, they bought all of us grandchildren a subscription to The Young Ornithologists Club, or YOC for short (I wish I could find my badge), which also meant that we were sent a magazine every few weeks. Helped by the novelty of receiving my very own post for the first time, this club was probably the first “hobby” I ever had. I was so taken with the contents of each magazine and the information that they contained, that it used to keep me quiet for hours. As a result, many a survey was conducted recording the bird activity in our garden. I also enjoyed making them revolting lard bird-feeders (that unsurprisingly never got eaten) and keeping a (hawk) eye out for my little feathered friends in general.
To my amazement, one day I came across an owl pellet. I had read about the contents of such in my Young Ornithologists Club Magazine, and found the very idea of dissecting a pellet to discover its skeletal contents intriguing. Hoping to share this experience with someone, I presented it to my Dad. It turned out to be a frosty cat poo, but I was praised for my enthusiasm nonetheless, and my fondness for birds has stuck with me thus far. Not to the extent that I would go on a bird watching holiday or some such thing you understand, but to the extent that I always put food and water out for them when they are feeding their young, and especially in the winter. I have also had several “pet” blackbirds that I like to imagine I have tamed with cupboard love (just call me the bird lady of Munich if you like), and one of my first crushes was Chris Packham. I still find him strangely attractive now.
Therefore, I love the fact that we have lots of tiny birds in our new garden too. We live quite far out of the city (I can’t get over how you can literally drive about ten minutes outside of Munich to be in the countryside!) so we are surrounded by farmland, and get to see quite a lot of wildlife, as we did in Denmark. But (and this is quite possibly a reward for my youthful YOC devotion) we have a rather special “house guest” here – we actually have a Kestrel in residence in the roof. Kes, as I have named him after the beautiful film by Ken Loach (which along with Tarka the Otter is guaranteed to reduce me to a sobbing wreck), apparently moved in around a year or so ago. He lives in the gables above our balcony and can be spotted first thing in the morning before he goes out hunting. I think he is trying to tell me that it is more his house than ours, as he leaves delightful “presents” each day. The strange English woman putting newspaper out on the balcony each week must be a real talking point for the neighbours, but it’s necessary, believe me.
Anyway, unlike the deer and squirrels who visited us in Denmark, Kes is quite camera shy. I have decided to make it a mission to try and get a semi-decent photograph of him a) for you all to see how beautiful he is and b) so that you see that I am not making him up, and c) to send it to the Young Ornithologists club to get my picture featured, which was my greatest wish circa 1985… Observe and conserve!
Kes – ok, that goes on the movie list, right now! And I hope your Kes stops by your camera soon…I’d love to meet him :)
Thanks Pia… yes, you absolutely must watch it. It’s one of the best if not the most depressing (but beautifully shot) films in the whole world! :) xx
Waiting to see the picture!
Unless you get one first! xxx
Midlife Singlemum says
I remember Kes. I loved it which was surprising as I’m not an animal person. If I remember rightly from The Magic Flute, they have birdmen in your neck of the woods.
Oh yes… I imagine it might be on at a few places in Munich over Christmas, must keep an eye out! Emma :)
I love Kes. And birds of prey. The buzzards are starting to make a come back here. Beautiful things. I used to watch the birds with my dad. Sometimes I will watch them here but mainly I just emergency stop the car whenever I see a kyte hovering above the hedgerows! You are very lucky despite the presents.
Thanks Kellogsville! They are fantastic aren’t they? I read about the buzzards making a come back in the UK when I was last back! Lots of red kites around too I noticed! :)
Frau Dietz says
Ha! Dear Bird Lady of Munich, please meet Animal Lady of Wiesbaden: I’ve as yet failed to get a photo of *my* red squirrel who scampered into our flat a couple of weeks ago. I’m pretty sure no-one believes me.
But aside from this,
1. Did the YOC magazines come with their own binder? I always wanted a set of those collectible magazines that came with a binder… but never got one :(
2. Chris Packham? Really?? ;) Actually I shouldn’t judge, my first crush was Tommy Boyd on The Saturday Show.
3. Tarka the Otta, sobbing wreck? Yes. And just about every other animal-related film/TV Series from that time or earlier (see: Ring of Bright Water, Orca, (Inter)National Velvet, Phar Lap, The Black Stallion; Seal Morning). However, I’ve never watched Kes because my most evil school teacher was obsessed with it and banged on about it so much that I swore I would never set eyes on it. Should I watch it?
4. I am so having a back-to-back animal films session this afternoon. Starting with The Black Stallion.
Dear Animal Lady of Wiesbaden, thank you for the most fabulous comment! I am laughing my head off as I type this…
1. I am not sure if they did have a binder, but I can understand why you should have wanted one… Always handy for quick and easy reference!
2. Yes, really. I saw him on Autumn Watch the other day. He gets better with age too, his hair is much better nowadays! Tommy Boyd!!! I remember him, oh well, at least it wasn’t Timmy Mallett!
3. You absolutely MUST watch Kes. It is quite honestly one of the most beautiful and moving films. Buy at least three boxes of tissues though!
4. I have never heard of the Black Stallion, I will keep an eye out for it. However, it does sound like something you might find on one of the extra channels over here! :)
Hope you enjoyed your afternoon film session!