But I have to admit I wouldn't notice any of these things if Ailz didn't point them out to me.
Local: We've taken to throwing stale bread on the roof of the shed under the window where I have my computer. It's good to have the birds swooping and squawking. In the old days when we had cats the birds kept away. Heresy, I know, but I like things better this way. I like birds better than cats.
There's a principle here. I like beasts better when I don't own them.
Mainly we get sparrows. But I'm sure I glimpsed a long-tailed tit a few days back.
National: Some chap has reintroduced the Great Bustard to Salisbury Plain. He's brought in chicks from Siberia. The Great Bustard is the largest bird that can fly. They used to be British natives but the Victorians had a mania for putting them in pies and museums and so wiped them out.
The chicks are being trained to avoid local predators this way: a tame fox is walked among them on a lead and if they don't hasten to get out of its way they get squirted with a water pistol.
World-historical: Scientists have finally settled the question as to whether Archaeopterix- the ur-bird- used its feathers to fly. Answer: Yes, it did. It's all down to the amount of brain space that was given over to functions like sight and balance. They did a scan on an archaeopterix skull and found the brain was just like a modern bird's. This makes me happy. I like to think of those funny, little, scaly, toothy things actually flitting about.