There is a tree outside our balcony. We’ve called it Gareth, though I’m not sure how it feels about that.
For a while Gareth was quiet, green and leafy and home only to the occasional bird and some irritating tiny flies which came to float around our kitchen. Then, quite suddenly, Gareth became a colony.
I woke up one morning and thought I was about to witness a migration. Hundreds of sparrows had invaded Gareth’s branches, chirping and fluttering and primping. Surely, I thought, that’s too many birds for one tree. But Gareth is a generous host, and the birds stayed.
In the weeks since then, the sparrow population has thinned slowly: their sunrise chorus is no longer louder than most cars going by outside. There’s still several in sight at any given time, fluffing and bouncing from twig to twig, but they seem quieter to me.
I don’t know where the others have gone. It has gotten colder, and Gareth is not so leafy. Perhaps the nights are too sharp for the birds now, exposed in the branches. Perhaps they have migrated after all. But sparrows don’t really migrate, do they? (Do they?)
When I was working at the desk this week, one flew up and landed on the rubber seal of the window, knocking its beak on the glass. It startled me, quite reasonably. We looked at each other through the blinds, and then it flew away with just as much force as it’d arrived with.
Lit up by Liz the lamp-post (judge away), Gareth is russet instead of gold. I can see more of the branches, and the spiky fruit-things which will fall to the footpath and be kicked around by children. I don’t really want a garden, but I very much appreciate our tree.
Tree pictured is ironically not Gareth.