For the last ten days or so there has been the most annoying sound just outside my back door; a "Weeeep, Weeeep, Weeeep, Chirrrrp, Weeeep" sound. It was obviously a bird of some sort but it was high up in the tree next door (yes, that tree that sends it roots into our garden to uplift our patio paving into an interesting and ankle-risking adventure playground) and we couldn't see what it was.

The sound was incessant and really rather irritating. It didn't get to the point where I seriously considered giving my hunting cat (not the couch potato one) a helping hand up that tree (because, while I applaud his sterling efforts in rodent control I do not at all espouse his predatory interest in our feathered garden friends), but it has to be confessed that the thought did cross my mind.

Yesterday we actually saw the bird; it is a male chaffinch. Upon looking it up I discover that the reason he is singing so loudly this late in the season is that he is probably a lonely bachelor who was unsuccessful in finding a mate earlier on.

Some of you reading this may be ornithologists yourselves and will be saying "No – that's not a chaffinch call, she's got that one wrong" and if you do know of a bird that looks exactly like a chaffinch with the above call, then please; I'd love to hear from you.

So my feelings for this bird have now completely changed. So I suspect that my poor chaffinch is the bird equivalent of the somewhat nerdy systems analyst who lists mountaineering, financial investments and canoeing as his hobbies and who would make some lonely female chaffinch an excellent husband if she could just get over that rather unfortunate mating call.

I now feel compassion for him, not annoyance. I've even become rather fond of him and listen out every now and again to see if he's still advertising in the garden equivalent of the lonely hearts column.

I have to admit though, that his song is really unattractive. Now, if I knew some lady chaffinches I would introduce them right away - if only to shut him up and get him out of that flippin' tree!

A Moodscope member.


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