Wren

I'm guessing this will be a love or hate image, you'll either get it or not but that's the whole point of creating images, its a subjective and personal thing. I've been playing with all the local wildlife these last few weeks during our lockdown in the Wiltshire countryside and have become very familiar with all the very small and intricacies of my locals. For instance, I never knew just how many wrens there are in this area. In one small patch of lane there are at least six wren territories and at least two around my cottage.

This particular wren I've been watching for a while and I had been waiting patiently to photograph having spotted him well before lockdown and made a note of his song post on my daily dog walks. This morning I'll be honest I was just waiting for the right moment to photography him or her on the top of the hawthorn hedge it has it's nest in, when a car went past causing it to dive into the depths of the hedge.

But it wasn't long before it re-emerged and started it's normal routine of patrolling the territory boundaries, singing its heart out at full volume. Now if you are familiar with wrens you know that they are not quite the huge diminutive 'jenny wren' of children's book but are more like those rowdy party animals with their songs turned up to full volume. It it weren't for their size, wren song would make the ground shake! 

They are one of those amazing tiny birds who seem to defy science by producing what it believed to be extremely energetically costly sound which appear disproportionate to their size. Is that not a clue to us, that there is much more value to bird song that perhaps we yet fully appreciate? Nature doesn't just do stuff for the hell of it, there must be a strong evolutionary reason for the loudness of the song and the reward that it must confer.

I find it utterly fascinating and have always had an inkling that this could be partly honest signally of fitness through acoustic counter marking in a territory. (I'll fill you in on that idea sometime - I wrote a PhD thesis on it some years ago but using scent rather than sound, but promise not to bore the pants of you with it).

The wren was going about its normal hormone-soaked breeding rituals despite our current difficulties, oblivious to the lack of human presence normally disturbing it's song with the passing of tractors, cars, aeroplanes....

Anyway, it struck me while taking this image that it was a bit of a symbol really of the fact that although we can produce all the wonderful advances etc in our life styles and technology which have made us so successful, that ultimately nature is in control.  Perhaps we should be listening more to it, after all it is constantly shouting it from the roof tops and telegraph cables all around us.  The natural world is in charge here and it's about time we started to respect and nuture it. at the end of the day - we can't live without it, we are an integral part of it. Maybe we have lost sight of our reliance on natural ecosystems and our own mortality. What happens if we mess with the natural order too much? Food for thought.


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