All my life I have loved hanging out with birds – an influence passed down from my father. They have given me much joy and I cherish our property in the forest in Australia, providing a menagerie of our feathered friends to watch and listen to.
Many years ago Stuart Wilde (we are not related – I am ‘wild’ not ‘wilde’:) had a house in Australia which I often visited. I always took my binoculars as the house had a commanding view of the rainforest looking east towards the coast – and there were birds aplenty. Stuart took an interest in the birdlife (he was so curious about everything) and whenever we heard a new call he would ask “Which one was that”.
There was one particular week or so where it was just the two of us and we really got excited about the birdwatching. I showed Stuart my field guide and we marked off all the birds that we saw and he learnt all the names. One species that was always present but we never actually saw was the Lyrebird – a consummate mimmic – extraordinary. Here is a famous video by David Attenborough that is worth checking out.
So Stuart and I had a wonderful time listening to the famous lyrebird and the catbird which sounded like a crying baby. We watched as rainforest doves circled above the forest before perching in the tree tops and honeyeaters dancing about in the understory.
I know that when many people think of Stuart, they see a man that was always carousing about, travelling, and asserting himself in the world. But Stuart and I spent many times together in quiet contemplation, asking questions about our place in the universe and how magical it can be. Much like the birds – sometimes in free flight and other times in quiet reverie.
If you would like to view/listen to some wonderful birdsong I recorded recently then have a look at Songs of the Forest – 70 minutes of pure joy.