Country diary: the new normal in lockdown isn't that new after all

Airedale, West Yorkshire: Sightings of peregrine falcons and parakeets should not surprise us. They have been in our cities all along

Things seem askew. The chew-toy squeals of rose-ringed parakeets rise above the songbird natter among the ash trees of a Bradford park. A friend sends pictures of a goshawk seen, improbably, in suburban Airedale woodland. High on the mill chimney, framed by lightning conductors, a peregrine falcon watches over my lockdown coffee on the back step. None of this, surely, is normal. Might it be the new normal I’ve heard so much about?

What is normal? The chiffchaff’s tireless two-step sounds all morning long from the allotments at the bottom of the street (between my step and the peregrine’s chimney). From adjacent birches in that parakeet-ridden Bradford park, two cock blackcaps spit breakneck territorial song at one another. These tiny birds have just come tumbling in as part of a 15 million-strong contingent of spring migrants from Africa and southern Europe. How is that normal? It wouldn’t be, if we weren’t so used to it – it would be jaw-dropping if it didn’t happen every year.

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Source: The Guardian
Country diary: the new normal in lockdown isn't that new after all