Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Saturday, 27 June 2009

What do birds do when it rains?

I was thinking about this, while watching the clock do its circuit before I had to go off to work today.
The sky was overcast; no, dull and horrible, and the garden was full of the usual birds feeding off the feeders; some House Sparrows, a couple of Goldfinches, and Starlings, squabbling and poking around in the grass, looking for anything worth having. A couple of Magpies strutting around like they owned the place, a pair of Collared Doves stuffing seed down their throats from the hanging trays…………

A few spots of rain began falling, slowly at first, but the birds just shook it off, and carried on feeding. I turned back to the computer, and flicked through the news headlines. The cat meowed loudly, wanting to be fed, and Jim sighed. He knows when I’m off to work and it’s his job to suddenly become the fiercest guard dog in the world.

I got up to make one last coffee before I had to leave; and fed the cat.
The spots outside suddenly became a deluge, as the rain decided it was time to water the garden.
The birds decided it was time to leave.

As I sat back down with a mug of coffee, I glanced out into the silent garden. Silent except for the rain bouncing off the small paved area by the back door. The birds had flown, to take shelter. And by the shed, I had acquired a new ornament.

A young Starling. Sitting perfectly still, head pointed skywards like an avian King Canute trying to turn back the rain.

He sat motionless throughout the downpour, glued to his spot, head thrown back, staring. I took a few pictures from the doorway, and still he sat, concentrating on turning back the rain. I smiled, thinking what a brave little chap; or a daft bird for sitting there getting soaking wet, whilst everyone else had sought some shelter.

I put the camera away, and as I came back to my seat, the downpour slowed quickly to a trickle, and finally stopped, as quickly as it had started.
My little bird gnome suddenly became animated, shaking the rain from his feathers, and looking around him. He was alone. Just him, and the crunchy peanut butter spread on the head of his perch. One last shake, and a quick look round, and he hopped up, to continue his feast.

Pretty soon the other birds arrived swooping out of nowhere, wet, but hungry; ready to continue their feasting.

Aaaaaa, but King Starling Canute had the upper hand. He was already there, and repelling all attempts by the other bedraggled Starlings to muscle in on the prize he had carefully guarded.

Daft or brave? Or clever?


  1. Oh, I can't believe you got that shot of the bird looking up like that - excellent! I love it.

    I have often wondered what birds do in the rain - do their nests fill up with water or do they build them with drain holes?

  2. ...or a romantic who just likes the feel of rain on his face! Either way he was certainly thinking outside "that" box, and the reward was his. I like this little fellow, and your photo of him looking up in the rain caught me by surprise. I've never seen a bird doing that before. I bet it brings a smile to everyone who sees the photo! :-)

  3. That's a great capture of a bird doing what comes naturally Keith. Bird and animal behaviour is fascinating and entertaining to watch.

    I think it's clever - free shower/bath and first back to the food :D

  4. That's really interesting.A romantic or was he challenging the rains?Agree with Kelly that it does bring a smile:)great capture!

  5. Lovely story, Keith, and a very interesting picture to accompany it.

  6. Kelly was right. It certainly brought a smile to my face. Great unusual shot Keith. It is amazing that some birds seem to take no notice of the rain. The other day a Song Thrush carried on singing on the highest exposed branch as the rain came teeming down.

  7. That's one clever starling Keith. Its funny, I have often seen small birds dashing off into the hedgerows just before a big windy storm turns up. I think they can sense it.

  8. Funny history Milton !

    Have a nice weekend

  9. I love that shot!! Hope tomorrow you get a sunny day...its sweltering hot here right now...so Im inside staying busy with my art!

  10. Thanks Jen. It was a shot I very nearly didn’t take, thinking he’d fly off as soon as I made a move, and I didn’t want to startle him during the rain.
    I think most birds, when they’re sitting on a nest, or have very young there, just spread their wings to cover them, and tough it out.

    Thanks Kelly. He surprised me too. I’ve never seen a bird doing that either. It paid off for him in the end. :)

    Tricia, thanks. Quite an intelligent little chap, with forward thinking I reckon.
    And I agree with you about watching the ‘behaviour.’ Very rewarding at times.

    NatureStop, maybe he did challenge the rain; and won. He certainly made me smile when I saw it. Thank you.

    Emma, thanks. It was one of those moments when it was good to have the camera at hand.

    John, thank you. Usually the birds all seem to disappear when the rains come, but like you say, some seem to have a certain defiance over it all.

    Thanks Roy. I’m sure you’re right about their senses warning them of bad weather. Uncanny.

    Milton, thanks glad you enjoyed it. Weekend has got off to a good start so far; hope you have a great one too.

    Thank you Dixxe. It’s been quite warm here today, after a cool, cloudy start. Went out for a few hours early this morning, came home, and fell asleep. I felt exhausted. Lot of catching up to do now. lol

  11. Great capture Keith,I love the rain and watching how the Wild Life behave.

  12. Thanks John. Some take cover, and others just seem to ignore it all.