I have been standing in the sitting room window watching a hen blackbird feeding outside. It has been a damp night and a whole lot of dead, wet leaves are lined up against our garden fence just outside the window.
She started at the bottom end and systematically turned over every leaf with her beak and found something to eat under almost every one. I know that when I sweep up leaves like this I always find wood lice, slugs and worms - well Mrs Blackbird had no difficulty in finding her breakfast I can tell you.
Coming through into the kitchen I saw the greater spotted woodpecker arrive. He loves the peanuts but today he decided to start his breakfast by moving up the trunks of the Scots Pine trees, chipping off bits of bark and finding something to eat behind them..
A wren was scratching around in the hedge bottom behind the bird-feeders and in the field next door five or six pheasants were scratching around.
We spend around a hundred pounds each month on food for the birds and we get huge pleasure from watching the large variety we get here - Winter and Summer. We shall not stop feeding them - but it did strike me how very efficient they are at finding their own food in all but the most severe weather.
The same goes, of course, for the grey squirrels who have taken all our hazel nuts from the numerous bushes in the hedge; and the various birds who have had their fill from the fallen crab apples.
Have we lost a lot of that ability (Cro excepted)?
Do we now expect the Supermarkets to provide our food all year round? And have many of us even lost the ability (or perhaps the inclination would be a better word) to stockpile for winter with jams and pickles (again I make the exception here for the numerous bloggers I follow who are trying to be self-sufficient - and I do so admire them for it)?
Will we eventually become a nation who rely entirely upon the supermarkets for keeping us alive? As more and more couples have to both go out to work in order to pay the mortgage and thus have very little time to prepare home cooked meals, will we all come to rely on the freezer or the delivery man who brings ready meals to our door? Interesting thought. What do you think? And where do you fit into this equation?