Today's Country Diary describes the chaffinch in all his glory

Chaffinch and reflection by pool

For a brief moment, a cock chaffinch owns the world: a handful of seeds on a metre-square of concrete at the cold end of February. Watch the fighter’s forward shuffle, pushing towards the ropes of his entitlement; the eye-contact with invisible opponents. In a scattering of wild bird food, harvested somewhere else, bagged for the supermarket and broadcast here to rekindle a bond between person and bird, he asserts his antique right to gleanings.

He selects a seed the way a waller lifts the perfect stone to fill a gap. The precision instrument of his beak applies just enough pressure along the ridges to split its seam, then he rolls it crosswise to crack and separate the case, which he drops. This empty husk is the chaff, and the chaffinch’s skill is in the threshing of each grain, the winnowing that separates the germ of life from the box it comes in. Chaffinch do not eat the chaff but create it, a litter cast for others....

Read the full article on the Guardian here


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