Christchurch city living.

The noise in this city is becoming too much for me. First it was the starlings that started tweeting and carrying on first thing in the morning. I’d just get them off to wherever they go during the day, and the sparrows would start. All English imports and as per the rabbit, and gorse, they were about to take over until someone in the council got smart and replaced the willows with natural bush. Now we hear the ringing tone of the bellbird (Korimako) from time to time and once a day the pi-pi tweet of the fantail (pīwakawaka) as it flutters around the house devouring the spiders. The loudest bird noise comes from the squawking seagulls who despite the fake fluttering images of magpies (evil Australian imports no-one in their right mind has anything to do with), have decided to roost on the top of the Equestrian Centre until it becomes too hot even for their horrid little birdy feet. I suspect that’s when they nick over to New Brighton to steal chips, but before that they sit… and all of a sudden rise up as one squawking mass, do a couple of circuts and sit back down. Weird. But even this unseemly racket has been eclipsed by our completely endemic cicada circus. The noise of a couple of wings (or is it back legs?), rubbing together and multiplied by a thousand participants, is extreme to say the least. At least you can see birds but cicada could be anywhere. I was sitting on the deck yesterday when a cicada flew, smack bang, into a solid wall. I had no idea what it was – other than stupid, until it started up with the noise. If I thought it would’ve done any good I’ve had rushed inside for the can of flyspray but there are obviously millions of them out there flying into manmade structures. And quite possibly, trees. I am hoping cicada mating season ends soon and the starlings go off to the country to eat wheat and the seagulls decide to stay on at the sea for a while. The sparrows can stay since they’re cute – and reasonably quiet. If that all works out, I might even get the opportunity to hear the bell at the nunnery on the corner calling the silent order of Carmelites into prayer. I wonder what they’re making of all this din?

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