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The Birds of Britain

(Attempting a haiku for every bird.)

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A

 

Avocet

With your delicate
 Up-turned bill - you sift through the
 Estuary mud.

 
B

Barn Owl

You are quartering
The moonlit meadow - a ghost
With white, silent wings.


Bearded Tit

From the depths of the
Reed-bed comes your insistent
Metallic ching, ching.


Bittern

Skulking deep in the
Heart of the reed-bed; heard but
Seldom seen: boom, boom.


Blackbird

You are guardian
 Of the garden - patrolling
The shrubs and bushes.


Blue Tit

You hang upside down
On the bird feeder - pecking
At the red peanuts.


Buzzard

High above the wood
On today's warm air currents -
You circle and glide.

C

Chaffinch

Ubiquitous finch:
With your 'cheerful-chappie' pink
And flashing wing-bars.


Chiffchaff

You are iconic:
Onamatopoeic bird
Of returning spring.


Chough

Red-legged, red-billed; high
Above Cornish cliffs among
The gulls and jackdaws.


Cormorant

Oily, sinister
Snake-bird - resurfacing with
A beak full of fish.


Crow

You are the blackest
Of birds: black beak, black feathers;
Black eyes, black icon.


Cuckoo

You are the villain
Of the piece - laying your egg
 In other bird's nests.

Curlew

It is dusk on the
Mudflats; your melancholy
Call hangs in the air.
 
D

Dartford Warbler

From the tip of the
Yellow flowering gorse - you
Sing your churring song.

Dipper

You are the river's
Electric current - buzzing
Over the wet rocks.


Dunnock

You are the bird in
The bush - inconspicuous
And unforthcoming.

F

Firecrest

In the half-darkness
Of the fir branches - your head
 Is a tiny flame.


Fulmar

Close to the cliff you
Circle on straight, unbending
Shallow-beating wings.

G


Gadwall (Male)

Not just any grey
But a dappled, shimmering
Merging, zig-zag grey.


Gannet

Launched from above, you
Are a fish missile: pointed;
Streamlined; targeted.


Goldcrest

In the fir tree you
Flicker and fidget; your striped
Orange crest flashing.


Golden Oriole (Male)

Unmistakable:
That bright yellow head - flicking 
Along the hedgerow.


Goldfinch

Crossing the winter
Field - a red and yellow flock
Twittering sweetly.


Great Tit

At the bird feeder
You are a bully - driving
Off the other tits.


Great White Egret

Vision of whiteness
Against the brown reeds and the
Brown Broadland water.


Green Woodpecker

In the open you
Dip and rise: on rotten tree stumps
You scurry upwards.


Grey Wagtail

You flit along the
River's edge - a fluttering
Airy, spirit bird.


H


Hawfinch

You are a bruiser:
A bull-necked, cracker of seeds;
 Not to be messed with.


Heron

Silent sentinel,
Stock-still at the river's edge;
Fish-aware; alert.


Herring Gull

You are the phantoms
Of the landfill: scavenging;
Bickering, shrieking.


Hooded Crow

In your natty grey
Waistcoat - you scour the fields for
The dead and dying.


House Sparrow

Once you were common:
Chirping and cheeping over
Rooftops and gardens.

J


Jack Snipe

You vanish into
The reed litter - a skulking
Mottled brown spectre.


Jay

You are the raucous
Acorn buryer: the white
Flash in the woodands.

K

Kingfisher

Electric blue shock
Flying at full pelt; parting
The ordinary.


L


Long Tailed Tit

The bumbarrels are
Coming - flipping and flicking
Through the low branches.


M


Magpie

You flutter over
The rooftops - a shimmering
Black and white omen.


Mallard (Male)

The green of your head
 Is a phosphorescent green:
Shimmering and chic.


Marsh Harrier

Above the reed-bed
You perform your manoeuvres
Wheeling and tilting.


Marsh Tit

Am I a Marsh Tit
Or a Willow Tit? You can
Tell by my black cap.

N


Nightjar

By night a flying
Ghost; by day invisible
Among the bracken.


P


Peregrine Falcon

Folding back your wings
You stoop - freefalling at two
Hundred miles an hour.


Pheasant

The beaters flush you
Out and you clatter upwards
Towards waiting guns.


Puffin

You are clownish and
Endearing - waddling with a
 Beak full of sand eels.

R


Raven

Above the gorge you
Float like a large crow - black-cloaked,
Black-throated, croaking.


Red-Backed Shrike

You are the hook-beaked,
Harsh-toned hunter - looking to
 Restock your larder.


Redwing

Above the frozen
Winter fields - a flock flickers -
Landing sudddenly.


Ring Necked Parakeet

You are exotic:
A light green, red-beaked, long-tailed
 Raucous escapee.


Robin

The gardener's friend;
Christmas card cliche; hopping
Red-breasted singer.


S


Skylark

Listen to the song:
Liquid crystal outpouring
High above the field.


Starling

The swirling, tilting
Murmuration settles at
Last under the pier.


Swan

You begin the long
Take-off; your huge wings beating
Against the water.


Swift

You bring the summer
With you - heading northwards on
A wave of warm air.

T


Teal

Male: phosphorescent
Chestnut-green head. Female: brown
With a green wing fleck.


Treecreeper

Your universe is
This tree trunk where you shuttle
Upwards and downwards.


W


Water Rail

You appear briefly -
Scurrying across the fen
On your long, splayed feet.


Waxwing
 
You come for berries:
The rowan and the hawthorn
And the mistletoe.


Willow Tit

Am I a Willow
Tit or a Marsh Tit? You can
Tell by my dull crown.

Wood Pigeon

You clatter into
The air - a plump, greedy bird
Circling and cooing.


Wren

Ferocious mini
Bird: your pin-sharp beak ready;
Your stub tail erect.


Y


Yellow Hammer

A little bit of
Bread and no cheese: a little
Bit of bread and no....

 
 

 

 

 

 

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