‘Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.’
Rabindranath Tagor

 One of the most wonderful things about waking up in Africa is the sound of early morning birdsong. It is a celebration that another day has dawned on this magnificent sunny continent.

A few large trees surround my home and I am always gifted with sightings of colourful birds. A community of Hadedas nest in these huge trees. At dawn as the sun peeps over the horizon, these community-orientated birds, with their raucous voices, enthusiastically greet their neighbourhood friends.

In the early mornings, in my garden courtyard I enjoy the birds as they flit from tree to tree, singing their welcome to the new day. Little brown-feathered lovebirds busy themselves round the birdfeeders, pecking at the seeds and discarding the chaff.

A few years ago I was lying in a hammock when a little bird perched on a palm leaf next to me. It looked directly at me and chirp, chirp, chirped. It then turned its head and looked at the empty birdfeeder and chirp, chirp, chirped. It then turned back to me and chirped some more. Even though I do not speak ‘chirp’, I know that I was being requested to replenish the feeder with seed. Birds have sometimes come to the open kitchen window and chirped to me to fill their feeder.

Often when I walk around the neighbourhood I focus on the birdsong; it is music to my Soul and quietens the chatter of my mind.

When I was a child living in Central Africa, I especially loved the early morning energy. I loved the birds that flew from tree to tree, the crows, the eagles that circled high up, and the flocks of green-winged glossy starlings which landed on our front lawn at eventide. Most of all I loved the haunting cry of the African Fish Eagle as it swooped lazily over the lakes and dams and perched in the skeletons of the partly submerged trees in the lakes and dams.

Linda Smith