zpravodajství životního prostředí již od roku 1999

Helen Macdonald: the forbidden wonder of birds' nests and eggs

09.09.2017
Příroda
The author of H Is for Hawk explains how an appreciation of bird habitats enables a unique connection with the natural worldWhen I was small, I decided I wanted to be a naturalist. And so I slowly amassed a nature collection, and arranged it across my bedroom sills and shelves as a visible display of all the small expertises I'd gathered from the pages of books. There were galls, feathers, seeds, pine cones, loose single wings of small tortoiseshell or peacock butterflies picked from spiders' webs, the severed wings of dead birds, spread and pinned on to cardboard to dry, the skulls of small creatures, pellets - tawny owl, barn owl, kestrel - and old bird nests. One was a chaffinch nest I could balance in the palm of a hand, a thing of horsehair and moss, pale scabs of lichen and moulted pigeon feathers; another a song thrush nest woven of straw and soft twigs with a flaking inner cup moulded from clay. But those nests never felt as if they fitted with the rest of my beloved collection. It wasn't that they conjured the passing of time, of birds flown, of life in death. Those intuitions are something you learn to feel much later in life. It was partly because they made me feel an emotion I couldn't name, and mostly because I felt I shouldn't possess them at all. Nests were all about eggs, and eggs were something I knew I shouldn't ever collect. Even when I came across a white half-shell picked free of twigs by a pigeon and dropped on a lawn, a moral imperative stilled my hand. I could never bring myself to take it home. I was raised at a time when the set of acceptable amateur bird-appreciation activities had shrunk to watching, feeding and counting them. Naturalists of the 19th and early 20th centuries had routinely collected birds' eggs, and most children who grew up in semi-rural or rural surroundings in the 1940s and 50s had done it too. "We only used to take one from each nest," a female friend told me, abashed. "Everyone did it." It's simply an accident of history that people two decades older than me have nature knowledge I do not possess. So many of them, having spent their childhoods bird-nesting, still see a furze bush and think, linnet, and can't help but assess the ability of last year's laid hedge to hold a chaffinch's or robin's nest. They possess different wordless intuitions from me, ones relating to how one holds the landscape between head and eye and heart and hand. In my own history of the countryside, nests weren't things that were made to be found. They were carefully maintained blind spots, redacted lines in familiar texts. But even so, they had special salience when I was very young. For children, woods and fields and gardens are full of discrete, magical places: tunnels and dens and refuges in which you can hide and feel safe. I knew, when I was small, what nests were about. They were secrets. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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