One day, as I was digging in the garden, out the corner of my eye I could see a little bird hopping closer and closer. You don’t need to be Bill Oddie to recognise the good old Robin ‘Redbreast’. Though we do not have a national bird, readers of the Times once voted the Robin as the most popular bird in the U.K. and with good reason. It is loved by all and is the bird to symbolise Christmas (I will tell you at the end the religious significance of the Robin and why it is used on Christmas cards). Anyway back to the story.
I watched the Robin getting closer. He was hoping that I dig him up a juicy worm. To give him a chance to feed, I left the area unattended. No sooner had I gone, when he jumped onto the handle of the spade to get a better vantage point. As I watched this tranquil piece of gardening theatre, an event happened that showed that nature is also a roughhouse. A ‘gang’ of crows descended onto this peaceful scene and massacred whatever was moving on the ground. The Robin fled as if his life depended on it, afraid and foodless.
From that day, I have divided the bird population into two groups. The first group I name the ‘Gardener’s Friends’. They can be recognised by their beautiful fluty-warbling songs and their smallness of size. This group contains the Robins, the Sparrows, the Tits and the Finches. Opposing them is my second group, which I name the ‘Gangsters’. They don’t sing. Their dinosaur shrieks belies their ancestry. They dominate the area by aggression and bullying. They are the Crows, The Ravens, The Magpies, and Seagulls. The ‘Gangsters’ will not only steal the food of the ‘Gardeners Friends’, but given a chance will also eat their young.
Sadly the ‘Gardener’s Friends’ are in steep decline, Sparrows for example have declined a massive 65% in numbers since 1970. This is tragic.
There are several speculative reasons for the drop in small-bird numbers. These range from destruction of rural habitat, to cats, to mobile phone signals. I don’t think anyone has a definitive answer. It could be any, or none, of the above. All we know is they are disappearing. So it was with great delight I came across the Bempton Bird Table.
The Bempton Bird Table at first sight looks nothing short of a stunning piece of garden architecture. It oozes class. There is a ‘weathered’ solid copper roof. There is intricate latticework and arches. It is made to the finest precision out of solid Cedar Wood from a sustainable source. You hang the Bempton from a tree branch by the rope provided, or from a hook or bracket in a fence post. It really gives the garden a touch of style, but that is not the only reason I love it.
You see, it is designed so that only the small birds can use it. If a ‘Gangster’ bird tries to land on the roof, it slides off. If a ‘Gangster’ finds a place to cling on to at the bottom, it cannot get to the food. More than this, the ‘Gangsters’ cannot get their big bodies through the arch. The Bempton is a masterstroke, combining beauty and function.
With a Bempton Bird Table hanging in your garden, the small birds can eat safely without fear of bullying and this has a major consequence. Once the small birds have found a safe source of food, their natural tendency is to nest and breed in your area. Your days become filled with their lovely singing and presence once more.
If you are looking for something with a touch of nobility for your garden, or even looking to give a perfect Christmas present, look no further than the Bempton. It helps small birds to survive. It is a weighty, substantial piece of carpentry and lasts forever. It looks classy. It makes any garden or patio look better, and if it is a gift, the recipient will be reminded of you whenever they look into their garden.
Finally, whilst I remember, why is the Robin on Christmas cards? Many think it is because it is a winter bird that it signifies Christmas, well that’s not the real reason. The real reason comes from religious folklore dating back to the Middle Ages.
Jesus was dying on the cross bloodied and in pain. A little brown bird saw his anguish and flew down to comfort him. The little bird sat on his shoulder and sang him a beautiful song. The little bird stayed with him until he died so he would not feel lonely. Some of the blood from Jesus’ wounds stained the little bird’s breast. As a result, forevermore, all the family of that little brown bird would carry the mark of Christ. These little brown birds with this mark, were then given a special function by God - to help carry the souls of the dead into heaven.
Come on! Let’s do what we can to help the little birds!
See you next time.