With the US Presidential Primaries well under way, and an imminent EU referendum here in the UK, it occurs to me that many of the birds in my garden are on their own version of the hustings right now, competing to win both states (a territory) and the approval of the electorate (one or more females).
Most notable on this particular circuit are the robins. One in particular has staked out a five garden territory with ours as the Southernmost (which technically makes it Florida, fitting as the back lawn has been like the everglades recently). He moves between high points in each of these parcels of land singing his song, or ‘stump speech’ to stick to the political metaphor.
Unlike some of these candidates, no protest puts him off (hello Donald Trump), and he is unwavering in the face of all distractions. Even if I’m directly below with a pair of sheers, the speech must be delivered, the election must be won.
He’s not the only one on the campaign trail though. The garden shed is again the critical battleground, the ‘swing state’, for the territories of two local blackbird pairs. The faces change, but the map of this particular election remains constant for some reason.
It’s not all big picture though. The local Wren has again staked out the abandoned House Martin nest and is now singing vigorously from cover. He’s not so much looking for presidential oversight, more a bit of local power, and runs pretty much uncontested.
The Greenfinches and Goldfinches are squabbling and fighting amongst themselves at this point, more of an inter-party struggle really, like Blairites and Corbynistas. Meanwhile a single crow has taken to bullying an entire mischief of magpies, like a political bigwig taking issue with the attention of the paparazzi (I name no names here for fear of legal action!).
The Dunnocks have a happy little existence away from the bustle and trappings of any specific politics, carving out their own little free live commune where the three of them can just get on with life.
Finally we have our migrant workers, the Siskins. They are just getting on with things and won’t really get down to their personal politics until they head off for Scandinavia in a couple of weeks’ time. By staying out of it they can just concentrate on the business at hand, getting themselves good and energised for the trip home. Like the robins, nothing phases them and I can now stand just a few feet from them while they get on with it, chattering away amongst themselves. You have to respect that ethic.