Most wild animals' reaction to danger is 'fight or flight', but there is another: 'hide'. He is watching me and I am watching him, a magic moment. Had he been an adult, and his hiding place discovered, he would be off quicker than a ten bob rocket! However, having spent so much of his young life in hiding waiting for a visit from his mother, he now has to learn when to hide and when to... run for it.
A not uncommon visitor to the garden, once you are familiar with its 'tchik tchik' call, you will be much more aware of them in yours. Also, try tempting them with some ground up peanuts mixed with suet or lard and they will visit you daily.
Most gardeners, if not all, will be familiar with the robin. As they commence their toils he appears from nowhere; eager to help himself to whatever insects appear as soil is turned over, leaves swept up, pots and containers moved, etc. They can get so close to the action as to be in very real danger of being accidentally killed... 'Who Killed Cock Robin?'... the gardener! It is thought that robins first learned this behaviour by following large forest animals such as the wild boar, who would be foraging in the undergrowth for food, behaviour which can still be observed in the wilder parts of Europe. So, as you busy yourself separating the sedums, pruning the plums, or potting the pansies, you might think the little robin is your friend, but he just regards you as an old boar!
The Hooded Crow, a most intelligent bird and very hard to approach, as they are extremely cautious. They have to be, as people often shoot them. It is fair to say that most farmers hate them. Known for pecking the eyes out of dead and dying animals - they certainly do not endear themselves. A lens looking at a ‘hoody’ should have a pair of ‘cross hairs’ (telescopic sights), I am told. There is no doubt that they can be nasty (nature is cruel in tooth and claw).
I have held a long fascination for them, and as a boy had a pet jackdaw followed by a carrion crow, which both fostered my interest in these birds. Their success as a species lies in their omnivorous appetite; anything and everything is on the menu if you are a crow. I have watched them flying off with my neighbour’s potatoes, as well as picking over cow pats for grubs, carrion and of course road kill. Shellfish for some coastal birds are another favourite. Often on windier days, I have seen them picking up a mollusc of some kind on the foreshore, opening their wings into the wind and being lifted aloft, from where they will drop their prey, letting gravity do the work for them to break the shell. Sometimes it takes several attempts until their prize is revealed. Very clever. This fine fellow here could not resist a little penne pasta.