A Thrush Passes:


We have lived in this farmhouse we built ourselves now for over 25 years. For all that time (and who knows how much time before?) we have shared our home with a female grey thrush. For many years she was without a mate, then one miraculously arrived. She nested three times that first year – always in a hole in our mud brick wall where we have yet to lay the last brick. We cannot: it is the thrush’s home too. She raised eight chicks that first year. Each year since she raised at least two clutches.

During this winter I spotted some grey feathers in the garden and was concerned that a cat or fox had taken her. Today a thrush was singing in the nest once more, but it was not she. One of her daughters almost certainly, but a voice has been stilled here at Jeeralang Junction. She may be no more, but the valley rings to the songs of her many descendants yet.

She was ever a cheerful and friendly bird, with her clear call of, ‘Cho, Cho Wee!’ I would whistle an answer and she would come to say, ‘Hello’ and practice a medley of birdsong with me. Never quite in arm’s reach but ever so near; she would sit on a twig or perhaps the back of a verandah chair close by. We would sing a round or three. Her daughter’s call is more like, ‘Cho wee, Cho wee, wee’. I answer her with her mother’s song. She cranes her head to the side and gazes at me quizzically. We have a sort of understanding perhaps.

Here she is on 27 September 2014 in her favourite spot in the unfinished wall working on another clutch of her many descendants. I shall miss her.

PS: News of her death may be premature. Just as I was posting this right now, a thrush landed just outside the window, not 3′ away. The familiar ‘Cho, Cho, Wee’ seemed to ring out loud and clear. I can hear her yet moving around the garden. She has just answered me thrice! She is back for one more year then. How long do song thrushes live I wonder?

1 thought on “A Thrush Passes:”

  1. We too have little critters in our garden that we have grown fond of… and they do seem to know us and communicate in their own ways…. some more bold than others (we have ones that tap on our bedroom window of a morning if we haven’t fed them quick enough; or possums that sit on my lap of a summer evening and love a rub behind the ears).

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