The Grumpy Naturalist

Un-Hooded (80 second read) 
by Farriz Mashudi 28/06/2020
Paler head: a girl; or choose your preferred pronoun – He, She, It?

I swear she’s following me . . .

Just because she’s petite, has skinny legs and looks sweet, the PYT thinks she can get away with it. Well, she’s not entirely wrong. It’s just that I’ve never been this close to a bird; not two feet from a living, breathing one, and one I even knew the name of.  

It’d be hard not to, really. This girl, and her type are pretty famous. You’ve heard of course, of the ‘Rockin’ Robbin’?

He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go TWEET TWEET TWEET
Rockin’ robin, rock rock
Rockin’ robin’

Back in 1972 the catchy cover propelled the brethren of the Jackson 5 to great heights. It’s a boy robin in the bopping pop song and as it turns out, according to the Natural History Museum’s website, there’s a good chance that the golden speckled vanilla breasted one happily trailing me in the garden this morning was a juvenile ‘he’. Not that it’d done anything wrong. — Perhaps, I should apologise for the low-grade humour; Then again, we could be more tactful with the use of descriptors. Criminal otherwise, wouldn’t you say?

We can agree to disagree.

For a robin’s original hit, an aria in the snow: Click Here

Besides, there’s a conundrum closer to home. Mating rituals is one thing, but the beak-to-beak nips and open pecking in public evoked a scene more commonly seen in Paris. — Unless, this was the boys being territorial, rather than familiar? The girls too, seem to prefer their personal space, finding being too close uncomfortable.

For the species twice voted Britain’s unofficial national bird, was this saying something?

Superficially treated as equals when their trademark rust red breasts were endowed, it’s more vibrant colouring that marks the adult male; and according to those more accustomed to being followed, the girls tend to be understated rather than showy.

Flash in his colours shining in the sun, my companion must have been a boy then. Not that it mattered.

The song’s still good, no matter the gender.  

Every little swallow, every chick-a-dee
Every little bird in the tall oak tree
The wise old owl, the big black crow
Flappin’ their wings singing go bird go
Rockin’ robin, rock rock
Rockin’ robin’

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