Monday, 29 October 2012

Nature Study Idea: Listen

I was enjoying another afternoon on my front porch. It was wonderfully warm last week even though it is the end of October, we reached a high of 22 Celsius (that's 'add 32....' and do the hokey-pokey to make it Fahrenheit). Well, it was sunny and warm enough to be in a t-shirt and bare feet.  I was doing the Ken Ken and Sudoku puzzles in the newspaper when I thought I could hear leaves falling. They were.

Upon investigation I saw at least a dozen robins in my mountain ash tree.  They were pecking off and eating the orange berries that are left on it this time of year. The sound was the birds movement disturbing the fragile grip the yellowed leaves had on their branches. I could also hear some of the berries that got knocked off fall through the leaves and hit the roof and rain gutters.

Lucky shot of one of the robins with the berry in his beak,
they swallow them whole as far as I could tell.

I also could hear crickets.  It is a nice sound when hearing them on the outside. When even one gets trapped, or I think some come purposefully, in my house it is quite loud and annoying.  I am quite an expert on catching them and releasing them out my door.

I was still enough hear a rustle then see the black and white cat that lives under the mountain ash dart away probably because falling berries were disturbing his nap. I am sure he sleeps on my cushioned chairs on the front porch when I'm not looking.

The Canada geese are hard to miss, their constant honking announces that you will see their V in the sky as they pass over. Follow their path long enough to see them switch places and catch up with each other.

So listen.  In order to listen you must remain still for longer than 10 seconds. To help restless children settle down try reading a poem or tell a story to them first, the constant sound of one voice will give courage to the wild creatures to come back round. If they are truly a rambunctious lot, let them run through the trail first and near the end they might be more willing to settle down.  Or have lunch outside to keep their hands and mouths busy enough to let their ears hear. And don't forget your own front porch, there is no need to travel too far to hear new things.

Listen. It will draw your attention further than your eyes can immediately see.
Listen. It will change the sense of space you feel around you.
Listen. You might see a flock of robins eating berries in a mountain ash tree.
Listen. Sit quietly you may observe something extraordinary and unexpected.
Listen. Creation is speaking.


  1. I will listen! Great encouragement to do so and fabulous shot.

  2. A friend of mine went out last night in the storm and said she thought the winds sounded like a choir. Sometimes she could hear the soloist and then all the voices would join in again.

  3. Listen! What a great reminder of what magic might happen when we are quiet.

  4. Great post Jen! I'm linking to your blog this week in my post.

  5. Thank you Bobby Jo. After reading The Cloudspotter's Guide I became so aware of them and am always looking up... and have taken way too many pictures of them too.