By Susan Gordon
We have all had a difficult time this summer. There have been problems at the bird bath and the young hedge sparrows barge in and completely ignore the queuing system. Sponges and bath salts, shower caps and towels are just scattered everywhere after they have been there.
The young sparrows are noisy and stay out late. Some can’t even make it for dawn chorus. It makes our blood boil to see such bad manners. Even our feeding has been disturbed as these young scoundrels can’t wait. They gobble it up and even the fat balls and coconut pudding are consumed.
It was a very sad day on Saturday when a sky hawk flew over the garden. The sky hawk look-out, known as the captain, failed in his duties. It seems that he was looking for berries in the shrubbery and had taken his eye off the swirling sparrow hawk.
The hawk grabbed him and took him away. Poor soul. Missing in action we told the heartbroken parents and had a two minutes silence following a red sparrows fly past.
Each month, senior hedge sparrows meet to discuss matters. On top of the agenda was the problem with the youngsters. They were starting to be beyond their parents’ control. It was decided that National Service must be brought back to try to get them to sharpen up. We call this Tough Love!
National service is very strict. Up before dawn for full inspection.
Shiny beaks and smooth and clean feathers. Plenty of exercise, cleaning the bird bath , providing fresh towels and flannels. Bubble bath and moisturisers to the ready.
Roosts and nests are inspected each day and high standards are enforced. Cadets are told to stand in front of their homes while the inspection is carried out by a high ranking Sergeant Major,
The soldier cadets also have to collect berries and seed heads. Their voices must be tuned so as to join the dawn chorus choir and looking out for Sparrow Hawks to guard against danger.
Sparrow Hawk watch is really an art. We have lost a few cadets in the past but they were given full credit for their heroism.
Sparrow Hawk alerts and warning songs are so important to save lives.
The community’s reaction to the bringing back of national service was mixed. Some mothers became anxious and tried to hide their children in the shrubs. After we calmed things down, the cadets were gathered up and taken for training.
The change in our cadet force within six weeks has been astounding. The bird bath and bird table are gleaming each day. The cadets help their seniors to have first tastes of the fat balls and the meal worms. A steady queue for drinking water and baths is maintained. The elders have an extra serving of coconut pudding which always goes down a treat,
The dawn chorus has become so popular with the cadets. They have formed a choir and sopranos have been fine- tuned.
The nights are peaceful now as the cadets are too tired to gad about. They never neglect their duties and have become a credit to our society.
The sparrow hawk emergency brigade is exceptional and we have had only one loss last week.
Sparrow hawk spotters have to attend classes and workshops and study very hard to pass the exams. Saving lives is of course a priority and look-outs are vital.
Hawk spotters usually volunteer but we haven’t filled the captain’s vacancy yet. I don’t know why. I think that the captain was lost in action. So sad!- Total nr. of readings: 458 Copyright © The author  All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.
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