We try to warn overnight guests about the crows but the invariable opener at breakfast is “Oh my god, the CROWS” as though the guests didn’t hear/believe us. They’ve been woken by a pair of birds who attack a particular set of windows, pecking at the glass with such ferocity it sounds exactly like someone knocking loudly at the door.  It’s impossible to sleep through and usually begins around dawn.   

Many studies have been made of corvids and their intelligence:  In one, seven birds were captured and then released by researchers. The following year the same birds “scolded and harassed” the researchers – picking them out in a crowd. The study is in its 14th year and the birds still spot the original team, with 30 birds now joining in.  Corvids, in other words,  have long memories, hold a grudge and spread the word. 

This, I think, affects my options.

Linnet, yellowhammer, goldfinch, swallow, blackcap, dunnock, chaffinch, white throat, garden warbler...

It has been suggested that I stick a huge picture of an owl in the window to intimidate them so I am googling posters (most of which make owls look cuddly and wise and not at all intimidating) when I hear Zam swearing loudly.  I tend to ignore this having learnt over the years that the violence of his expletive bears no correlation to the subject - could be imminent nuclear war or it could be we’re low on milk.  Often it means he’s lost his phone.  But I know that on this occasion he can’t have because I, very considerately, brought it in from the table near the Corvid window where he had obviously forgotten it.

Turns out he was recording birdsong on his favourite app and I have disturbed it before it could add Eurasian Treecreeper (recorded later) to the impressively long list.  A couple of days later I find myself home alone listening to birdsong and the next thing I know I’m downloading the same app and transfixed by the sounds around me.

We are woken by the crows again and I can’t help wondering if they’re all THAT intelligent given that they seem to be either attacking or trying to mate with their own reflections.  But what do I know.  I sit on a bench watching the app tell me what is singing around me.    Minutes later I can’t tell a blackbird from a wren, having a much shorter memory than a Corvid.

Birds recorded at the winery on 13th June: Linnet, yellowhammer, goldfinch, swallow, blackcap, dunnock, great tit, robin, greenfinch, chaffinch, bullfinch, magpie, white throat, wren, blackbird, song thrush, collared dove, wood pigeon and garden warbler.