Researching his book ‘The 7 Secrets of Happiness: An Optimist’s Journey,’ Gyles Brandreth conducted a survey with a single question: What makes you happy? He found that among the top 10 triggers of happiness were those that might be expected such as laughter, friends & family, food, music, sunshine and so on.
More unexpectedly, birdsong featured high on the list. He writes that birdsong heralds the break of day and the arrival of spring. It gives us hope. I often think that birdsong is the thing that I would miss most about living here at Dale Farm. We have it in abundance; so much so that a guest who was eating breakfast in the cottage conservatory asked if we were playing a birdsong tape.
We get a lot of birdwatchers staying at the farm. They often come for the puffin season at Bempton but are equally delighted by what they can see and hear in our garden. We currently have choughs nesting on the turning circle, we have chiffchaffs in the front garden, every year we have housemartins (I think) nesting in the water pump, we always have hundreds of swallows in early summer, blue tits, goldfinches and greenfinches, thrushes, kestrels and my favourites, tiny wrens. Guests particularly like sound of the barn owls at night, woodpeckers (lots of these) and the dozy ducks who lay eggs here every year.
I am very far from a bird expert but the RSPB has a brilliant page on its website which will help you to identify birds. Once you have identified the bird you can then listen to a sample of its song to confirm identification. I really recommend you try it next time you stay to get full enjoyment from the cacophony you will be waking up to every morning.