Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may have her young” Psalms 84:1-3
Christianity is rich in the symbolism of birds. The Eagle signifies strength, the Dove peace and grace, the Owl desolation. In Renaissance Art Jesus is often depicted holding a goldfinch, thought to symbolize the soul, resurrection, sacrifice and death. In Oxford birds are very much part of our daily environment, even in the city centre. The screeching of the University Museum Swifts in Summer, the occasional mewing of a Red Kite hovering over our gardens, serene Swans, squabbling Ducks and squawking Geese on the river are all common enough sights and sounds.
Care of our avian neighbours in Holywell Cemetery is an important consideration in our quest, as an Eco church, to reach the Silver Award from ARocha. This afternoon a small group met at Holywell to discuss the siting of bird boxes. It was led by Andy Gosler, Professor of Ethno-ornithology, University of Oxford, who delighted the group by identifying the calls of Great tits, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Goldcrests and Fieldfares. In listening to the Great Tits three note song, he observed that Holywell must be a quiet environment within an urban setting; when noise levels are high their song is limited to two notes. It is good to know that birds recognize it for being a peaceful haven within a bustling city.
The aim is to provide 12 boxes, suitable for a variety of small birds and two larger ones for owls and possibly kestrels. Time is of the essence as the nesting season is a month earlier than it was twenty years ago; it is now in the middle of March. This is a direct result of Climate Change.
We are currently researching which boxes to choose; the average price is between £15 to £20. If you would like to sponsor a box, please make a donation via the button below and use the reference Bird Box. We will be holding an installation day within the next fortnight and would be delighted for anyone to join us. Andy Gosler will be on hand with advice and help. As a final note in addition to our Silver Award goal Andy has mentioned that his conservation target bird is the Spotted Flycatcher – Binoculars at the ready!