Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daphnis and Chloë

We have a bird-table in our backyard. But being in deepest urban Lancaster we don't get so many small birds. But we do get the larger ones; magpies, jackdaws, collared doves, the occasional blackbird and even rarer song thrush. Oh and one feral pigeon we nicknamed "Wallace" as it reminds us of a Wallace and Grommit character. The main visitors by far are the jackdaws. Like all of the genus Corvus they are social creatures and they come in large groups but each take their turn at the table. Having watched them for some time now, it is plain to see they have a pecking order in the real sense of the word.
The most timid visitors are the collared doves. they usually come as a pair and I rather suspect there is more than one pair. Today at lunchtime a pair of real love-birds dropped in and stayed for a couple of hours. They billed and cooed and mated and then just sat there like any loving couple. One or two jackdaws came by but left them alone.
I've nicknamed them "Daphnis and Chloë".
Daphnis and Chloë (Δαφνίς ου Χλωέ) is a Greek legend of two lovers. Both were shepherds who lived an idyllic life together. Daphnis was a son of Hermes and enjoyed the protection of Artemis. When he and Chloë came together the gods could not grant them immortality but instead decreed that when they died they would die peacfully together. When they died they continued their idyllic existence tending the sheep in the Elysian Fields of the Underworld.
Much later, the largest of the jackdaws put in an appearance. Not that it disturbed the two love-birds. But this big black bird is the boss of the jackdaw flock.

Perhaps I should call him Zeus (Ζεύς)?


Cath said...

Cracking shot of love bird doves!

Swearing Mother said...

Lovely photo's Norman. We put out some fat balls in a net, hung them from a tree but it took weeks before any of our local birds noticed them.

Now of course the garden is permanently full of pigeons.