By the time everyone is in the car, it’s fair to say that we’re probably running late and arguing about why this is so, yet again, and what we’ve all forgotten to do or bring. Three out of three of us are pretty grumpy.
But just a couple of minutes into our journey there is a buzzard, who regularly sits on the first traffic island we get to. Without fail, when he is spotted out of the window, the mood in the car is transformed.
His appearance unites us with a shared excitement that ‘there he is!’ and on one memorable occasion - when he took off and flew right alongside us at car window height as we rounded the island, a massive ‘WOW!’
This encounter with nature is so powerful a remedy for the Monday blues that even just a mention of whether we might see him is enough to raise everyone’s spirits, on any day of the week that we’ve struggled to get going in the morning.
Now and again our buzzard is sat with a friend, prompting many happy conversations about their future together. His presence engages all of us and bridges the gap in years between the siblings, enabling them to share a smile which brings them closer, even though they’d rather not have to share the back seat!
Our buzzard represents hope. Hope that we might see him. Hope that the day won’t be as bad as we thought it might be when we left the house. Hope for nature’s recovery.
Until recently, buzzards were only found in the north and west of the country due to severe population declines resulting from persecution and then myxomatosis and pesticides. Now they are our commonest and most widespread bird of prey and can be found almost everywhere in the UK.
As I continue my car journey after the kids have gone to school, listening to the news on Radio 4 or BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, there is often a depressing story about plastic or pollution, or species on the brink. But the buzzard – ‘our’ buzzard perched on a busy traffic island on the A45 - is living proof that we have it within our grasp to turn things around.