Migration

By Norman Purnell

It was the usual gathering. Springtime. We were all listening to the propaganda about our annual flight to that miserable, draughty island. We had been going there, according to our elders, for centuries. The sparrows were waxing happily about their cockney ancestry, the nightingales, full of song, prattling on about some square in London. The cuckoos are apparently steering clear of it completely. They won’t be missed as they dump their kids on anyone. They are big fat greedy birds.

The UK last had a summer when Queen Victoria was on the throne. I know the sun came out for half an hour in 2010 and every Brit put on shorts and dark sun-glasses. They are completely mad – the humans I mean. It rains every day but they have regular hosepipe bans.

It is a hell of a long flight from Africa; wild winds, ruffled feathers and to make matters worse, when we arrive they have introduced wild predators. Kite, osprey; these are gangster birds, very quarrelsome. There are too many houses, our happy hunting grounds are rapidly vanishing, there are far too many people. But you can’t argue with the old guard. They have travelled for centuries. ‘If it’s not broke why change?’ I could fancy a bit of sun, sea and sand. One consolation: there are less of us every year so more grub available.

I must break this up and get ready for the long flight. Last year’s nest should be waiting for me. It will be nice to meet old pals. Shucks, some lunatics stay all the year round. These birds are tough cookies or too lazy to fly, or ‘migrate’ as is the technical term. Scotland is my target. I must remember to pack my kilt and carry a store of haggis to greet the natives. Just a joke – we birds travel light.

One of these days I am going somewhere else. Happy days?

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