The Common Enemy: A Fight for Survival
When a Robin Changes it’s colours in the face of the Beast from the East.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today. It’s a common enough occurrence in the creative world.
Creative block where nothing comes to mind.
A whole host of ideas but not in the mood for any of them.
A project that needs creating but isn’t really creative.
Then I looked out of my window. There was inspiration staring right at me.
My Garden Microcosm.
I love my little bird feeding set-up. It brings me joy every single day. A host of little visitors with their own personalities, amusing antics, natural instincts.
In the UK we are experiencing what the Press have dubbed the Beast from the East. It’s a weather system bringing unusually harsh weather, ice and snow for which we Brits are notoriously unprepared. We don’t have snow chains because it’s just not worth it for the 5 days in as many years when they might be useful. We don’t invest in winter tyres for the same reason especially if we live in the South or on the coast. Our snow ploughs border on the ridiculous compared with countries that have regular snow.
So, the view from my window is a winter wonderland of snow drenched boughs and pristine tracts of land without a single footstep to mark the passing of human feet. I don’t have to venture out today, so it’s beautiful and inspiring.
Not so for my tiny friends who look for the little bit of help finding food that the feeders bring. To these birds, the cold snap is life threatening. As much as 80% of a population can be lost for want of food and shelter.
Usually, there are daily squabbles. The Nuthatch likes to eat alone and makes that clear to the myriad Blue tits. The Robins, highly territorial, are only seen one at a time, the resident male chasing off all newcomers.
Today there is a common enemy. The Beast from the East brings fear to all and petty squabbles are forgotten in the drive for survival. There were no less than 4 Robins, all together, at the feeders. More perched in a nearby shrub waiting for room to collect their own breakfast.
This is totally contradictory behaviour for these feisty little birds which aggressively defend their territories.
The Common Enemy
Today’s headlines in the daily newspapers all shouted out the same message. There is a common enemy and it’s not the Left or the Right, Trump, May, Brexit or any other man-made division. It’s Nature, the British obsession of the weather. For a few days, we’ll be of one accord.
Just like the Robins we can put aside our differences to attend to the common enemy. If we can do that locally in such circumstances, why can’t we do the same globally? As thinking, intelligent, empathetic creatures why can’t we rise above the petty squabbles, look at our better natures and fight the enemies across the world. Not each other, not our disparate beliefs but the things that threaten our very existence. Or will it take a Global Beast to make us work together for the survival of everyone?
All photography by Janice Gill and subject to copyright.