In Taid’s youth, ‘Y Llinos’ / [Carduelis cannabinawas in many parts of the UK and Europe, favoured as a ‘cage bird’ because they look and tweet so sweetly. A perfectly neat, dainty little finch, the male sports a crimson blood-red flush on his breast and poll in his breeding finery. His mate is an equally beautiful grey crowned bird of soft browns and cinnamons, with a smattering of pinkish speckles. Linnets are (almost quite literally) bloody gorgeous. Alas today, the linnet is a UK Red listed species due to alarmingly steep breeding declines, as well as shrinking overwinter flock numbers. They’re afforded full protection under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. 

Also today; It’s Summer 2019 and I am in my post nature reserve wardening epoch. I’ve gone independent and I’m officially a groundskeeping contractor, undertaking a wide range of duties for nature, people and the earth. I boast a wide variety of duties throughout my 7 day week, choosing work I enjoy.  I feel blessed, like I’ve sort of gone back to my roots and like I’m finding my loudest voice. Taid would be proud, I think.

Reporting for one of my duties yesterday morning, I was stomping along when I halted, suddenly. A perfect little feathered corpse lay sleeping on the tarmac and my heart fell on the floor.                                                                                                                                       “Be’ ti’chi, ‘deryn fach?” (yn Saesneg;”what/who are you, little {fem}bird?”), I muttered, picking up the soft cinnamon tinged body, still vaguely warm. I turned it over in my palm gently, to wonder if it was merely stunned yet alive. The eyes were still moist and bright, and there was not a single blemish on the little linnet. I blew into the chest feathers and thumbed at the bone. The bird was in good condition, well fed with a good amount of fat reserve. The poor llinos’fach – a juvenile linnet – had flown into the high wall and crashed to the ground a few metres below. It was probably on its first migration from its breeding ground. I wondered where it had hatched; nearby? How far had it travelled already when it hit that wall?

“wel, twll’tin mari’watcin a’r y glaw”, I swore inwardly. How dare this perfect little creature not long ‘born’, fly into a human’s wall and perish, before it could soar and sing and sail above the moors and heaths across England, Wales, or wherever the ‘gach it wanted. Fwcin’ storms in August had blown my little ‘deryn off course, I pondered. Congratulations, climate change, you’ve struck us again.


I had wanted to revive the little linnet in my hand and free it safely into the wind to resume its journey, but it had already left the mortal coil. Stroking the soft feathers, I swallowed my sorrow and remembered Tunnicliffe in his Malltraeth Summer home. I remembered Y Oriel, and how I marvelled at that mock-up Studio, when I was a kid.

I wrapped the beautiful little bird in a glove, and took it ‘home’ with me at the end of my morning. I’ve safely preserved it and intend to use it as a specimen like C.F. Tunnicliffe; study the immaculate feathers in intrictate detail, as he did. Then the little bird will be returned to the sextons and buryers – earth’s little undertaker beetles – to carry it back to earth from whence it came.

The Wildlife & Countryside Act of 1981 is legislation which protects all our native flora and fauna – respect its various schedules, and respect nature & Earth. 



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