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MAY: HAPPY SOUNDS AND LITTLE BIRDS CHIRPING

TERESA DA SILVA 
The month of May has a certain mystic about it which naturally relates to the beauty of Spring: colourful flowers blossoming everywhere, longer days and warmer nights, and birds chirping. Everything gives us a feeling of hopefulness which marks the awakening of nature gone to sleep during the colder months. Let’s just pray it won’t be lovely weather for ducks and that we will be able to spend some time in the sun.
This year the month of May will also set the beginning of what will hopefully become my fortnightly collaboration with BIRD magazine. I hope to kill two birds with one stone by diversifying the languages in which the articles are published and by giving lovers languages lovers the opportunity to read and then comment on and about the column in English as well.
In hopes of a particularly interesting start to this exchange and to avoid chickening out at the last minute, I did some research and came up with a number of fairly interesting options: Queen Elizabeth I’s 90th birthday, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” which always gives me goose bumps, May day celebrations around the world, Sigmund Freud’s date of birth: 6th May, Space day: first Friday in May, Mothers’ day, Teachers’ Appreciation Weekand so on.

I chose to occupy myself with the title of the magazine BIRD: an English name for a Portuguese product. We should all be as proud as peacocks to have such courageous people as Ricardo Pinto amidst us. I truly admire the symbolism and the words that the editor uses to enhance the name. Congratulations!

Hence, my decision to reminisce on an episode that occurred a couple of decades ago. As a junior teacher teaching sports, I stumbled upon “bird watching” in the manual. The surprise on the teens’ faces as I explained what it was has never left me. Nowadays, it would be water off a duck’s back, as most would have already been introduced to the cultural diversity of the country or countries where the foreign language is spoken. Yet, it still baffles many that bird watching may be considered a sport.
Some Brits may say it is a national sport whilst others will say it is a passion and others, yet, will consider all of it a wild goose chase. Whatever the reaction it evolved from interest in observing birds for the aesthetic rather than protection. Initially, a common practice in the UK and the USA, the call for the protection of nature as taken this hobby to many other countries where bird lovers will walk for hours in hopes of sighting a rare species or to aid some dying animal.
Certainly a hobby and perhaps a passion….but the question remains: is it a sport? Now I ask you to spread your wings and comment on the number of idioms or idiomatic expressions I have used in this text. I hope it will not be a swan song and that we will begin our exchanges soon.

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