The sound of the curlew’s song looping in the cool air was a cause for celebration last week. And then the sight of its familiar inverted ‘W’, wings in mirrored arches led by a curved beak, added to our joy.
It seems like a simple thing, and in some ways it is. In other ways, it’s not. The sound not only heralds the coming of spring and tells us that this pair of curlews has survived the winter, it also taps into an ancestral place somewhere in our brains that once formed sonic maps to place us in time and space. It reassures us that the seasons are going as they should be, that the chill winds of winter’s tail will soon blow themselves out, and our own life cycle is continuing.
Curlews aren’t the only ones that bring tidings in their song. Blackbirds greeting the dawn; blue tits chatting…
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