Column: The joy of bird song on a bright, crisp morning

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I was up and out early-ish this morning, walking to the station for a trip into town.

It was one of those autumnal mornings we all love – cold enough for gloves but bright and crisp and sunny.

The birds seemed to be revelling in the sunshine too, hedges and trees alive with song. Some bird song is familiar and quite easy to recognise – the Robin, House Sparrow and Blue Tit, for example – other songs are more tricky.

Identification is often made harder by the fact that often you can hear the song but cannot see the bird – it flits away as you approach or remains stubbornly hidden.

I always think if birds knew how much we love to hear them they would show themselves, but to them we are at best an inconvenience, at worst a threat.

We care for them, but they are indifferent to us.

Therein lies part of their fascination.

Each crow tearing apart a plastic bag on the pavement, each seagull gliding purposefully overhead is essentially an enigma.

We can study them and their world, learn their habits, but we can never enter into their world.

This particular morning, a Robin was singing its heart out.

Robins sing all year round. Being highly territorial, they want everyone to know this patch belongs to them.

However, some birds are silent over winter – such as the blackbird, which has arguably the best song of any garden bird.

We will need to wait to February before we hear the blackbirds start to sing again, when the campaign to attract a mate begins.

Then the male blackbirds will find a high perch – a tall tree or rooftop – and delight us again with their melodious song.