We last heard from the inexplicably obscure band Unit with their splendid instrumental entitled Little Severin, The Mystic Badger. Whoever they are, they have now excelled themselves and created what, in a sensible world, would be a chart-topping hit. 201 Birds marries a recording of Mr Key spouting the names of birds from an old Hooting Yard On The Air show with the actual sounds of birds. It is a most remarkable work, and I recommend you listen to it, over and over again, every day, until the cows come home.
♪♪♪♪ UNIT & Frank Key – 201 Birds ♪♪♪♪
Photo by Mircea Costina/Rex Features, via Mick Hartley
The time is right, I think, to flex my ornithological chops by setting a daily bird-related challenge. By doing so, I hope to silence forever those fiends who mutter darkly that “Actually, Mr Key is a complete ignoramus in matters avian”. It is astonishing, is it not, that such brickbats can be thrown? Yet they are, with distressing regularity. Well, let us see how the birdy know-alls deal with the first of these challenges!
Your task, which you must accept on pain of Aubreyan kim kam, is, bebooted and with your bird spotters’ book tucked in to the pocket of your rainwear, to locate and identify the following birds, as mentioned in Slouching Towards Kalamazoo by Peter De Vries (1983):
“That there is no bluebird of happiness, only the robin of resigned acceptance of things as they are. The plain everyday starling of common, undeluded reality… and then what next?… The grackle of total disillusionment?”
So there are four birds to spot, and spot well. No ordinary bluebirds, nor robins, nor starlings, nor grackles, mind. And, once spotted, you must execute pencil or crayon sketches of each, and post them, or links to them, in the Comments carton. Off you go!