Bird food has great qualities. Delicious, nutritious, blooming lovely. I benefit from it enormously – though I don’t eat it…

Greenfinches guzzle greedily. They drop bits from the feeders onto the grass below, where wood pigeons plod along to eat the left-overs. Feasting done, the finches flit off, and the rotund pigeons waddle to the pond where one does a belly-flop into the water. The other – more sensible – watches from the edge as its mate, with much flapping and splashing, struggles for lift-off.

What great entertainment – and all due to the humble seeds of the common British sunflower. Thanks to the birds’ somewhat clumsy eating habits, tiny seedlings pushed their way up through the grass. Now a mini-forest of sunflowers blooms happily, each flower turning its head to the sun throughout the day.

A nearby farmer edged his wheat field with sunflowers, a sight that put smiles on the faces of  bus passengers travelling through the harvest countryside.

In a world that was rife with fear and uncertainty, Jesus told his anxious listeners to, “Look at the birds…” and “Look at the flowers…” And went on to say, “Don’t worry…” Today, the bright and amusing aspects of nature can be as welcome and calming an influence as in Jesus’ time. In today’s jargon: “Keep calm and enjoy sunflowers.”


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