As someone who has written at some length about birds – the herons and curlews of Lincolnshire; the pheasants that go in fear of their lives during the winter months in the Pennine village in which I live – I’ve been very interested in the bird life of Barcelona. Most of the birds here are exactly what you would expect to find in a major city with lots of parks which is also a Mediterranean sea-port. I’ve seen gulls and feral pigeons, sparrows and ducks a-plenty; swifts swirling around the buildings: in other words, the same birds that I should encounter in similar habitats in England at appropriate times of year. I have, however, been amazed that the many palm trees of Barcelona are filled, not with the melodious song of the blackbird and song-thrush, but with the raucous cry of the parakeet. These piratical birds swoop screeching down upon the crusts and pizza-ends discarded by tourists and, despite their inferior size, give the pigeons a fairly vicious dusting down if they try to put up a fight. They’re nothing but semi-tropical thugs, really, but I can’t help feeling a sneaking admiration for them, even so. It’s not just that they live by their wits, but also because they do it in such a brazen way. I suppose that in one sense they have no option: gorgeous in luminous lime green, they can hardly make their livelihoods by stealth. There is something entertaining about the fact that they carry their finds up to a safe branch and, clutching the morsel in one foot, nibble delicately at it like over-dressed and picky diners on the terrasses beneath them.
2 thoughts on “Snapshot of a diner in Barcelona…”
Glamorous thugs indeed, Christina! Isn’t is wonderful to see exotic bird life? It’s one way of the special aspects of foreign travel. When so much these days is international, even global; when we recognise the same shops and businesses everywhere we go, isn’t it refreshing that the fauna and flora of a country can still make you aware that you are somewhere completely different. That, and the weather too, I imagine. It looks as if you are having lovely sunshine out there!
It’s full of warmth and sunshine, both of which, Valerie, I really need after this winter! I share your view of the sameness of the world and rejoice in variety when it occurs (though I understand that parakeets are to be found in numbers in London, too!). I can confirm that I’m having a wonderful time here! Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting! 🙂