I wouldn’t really call myself a bird lover, not when half my childhood was spent having pigeon droppings fall over my shoulder and having someone shout “it means luck!” in half-pity, half-laughter. So when Luke suggested Bird World with the thrill of a 14-year old going to Thorpe Park, I was not enthusiastic to say the least.
I treaded softly; “but baby, it must be expensive to see all those exotic birds…but baby, you know I have that article to write…but baby I don’t freakin’ want to go…” Since you’re reading this post, you probably already know how that conversation ended. I suppose he’s always been the more persuasive one of us two. I have to admit though that the experience was, for many reasons, worth putting aside my aversion for pigeons.
No need to read the 7 tomes of Harry Potter to have creatures which are beyond the imagination float in front of your eyes: Clad in a myriad of colours, Bird World’s little residents, make a psychedelic fit look like ‘papier maché’. Okay, that may be a bit of a far-fetched description. But, then again, I wouldn’t really know since psychedelic fits are not, per se, part of my everyday routine.
To return to our birds, I think one of the most startling realisations when strolling from enclosure to enclosure, was the dazzling spectrum of colours. Of course, I have seen unique and exotic birds on TV, but England’s Bird World had my expectations set to black crows and budgies. Suddenly having this myriad of creatures in front of my eyes, inspired a new wave of awe and humility in front of nature’s intricacies. The turn of a beak, the bulge of an eye, the perfect alignment of feathers; all seemed to highlight the simple complexity and beauty of evolution.
The gist of my day was a strange mixture of fascination and languid tranquility. Set amongst greenery, some of the paths in Bird World have clearly been designed, created and planted with the utmost dedication and care; made intentionally for the visitor to imbibe all the serenity the place had the potential to offer.
And believe me, if you are in need of a bit of relaxation, there is nothing like big fat lazy birds to inspire the feeling in you. Their determination to make the least movement possible is quite impressive. Even the owl, one of my favourite animals, was in sloth-mode. It craned its neck to a solid 45 degree angle with the apathy of one who had done it one too many times, but who had, half-heartedly, decided to indulge us.
If anything, apathy engulfed us all and turned Bird World into a zero gravity planet. Okay, again, an exaggeration. But, even the kids seemed to be moving in slow motion, except, of course, for the occasional shrieky ones who probably had too many Wheetos for breakfast.
Seeing Bird World through slow motion lens helped heighten the experience and increase my appreciation for the sights around me. As I mentioned, some of the paths are beautifully made, making the trip perfectly ‘instagrammable’.
Getting lost in the mesmerising sight of wings in motion, all sleek muscles and shiny feathers, is a wonderful feeling.
But, I have to say, one of my many favourite moments was probably feeding the huge toucan-looking bird. I was too busy watching it peck at the worms on the end of the branch that I was brandishing to find out its actual name, but oh well. If you do know this beautiful (and greedy) bird’s name, please let me know!