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Melody of birds, Pat Busch Reserve, South Africa

This field recording was made at Pat Busch, a reserve situated high up in the mountains about two hours outside of Cape Town, and it captures something of the dramatic beauty and expansiveness of the mountainous areas of South Africa.

In Catherine Boulle’s recording, you can hear the reserve’s rich bird life, which includes fish eagles, nightjars, sugarbirds, cuckoos, coucals and hundreds more species; a late winter breeze; and weaver birds building their nests in the reeds alongside a dam, while in the background teenagers run and jump off the dam’s wooden deck into the freezing cold water.

City version:

This field recording from the Pat Busch reserve was reimagined into a spectacular new composition called “Fledge My Child” by Simon Holmes, which he describes as follows:

“When I first think of Spring, I instantly hear birdsong filling the garden and woodlands, evoking a sense of renewal and rebirth. It also has as certain therapeutic quality giving me a feeling of relaxation and calm. When I heard the ‘Melody of Birds’ recording, I had a sense of the birds being engaged in conversation and wondered what they might be discussing.

“Of course, Spring is the time when chicks hatch and fledge which got me thinking about what parent birds might say to their young to encourage them to leave, whilst at the same time becoming saddened because of the inevitability of an eventual empty nest.

“I wanted ‘Fledge My Child’ to reflect this conversation, presenting the piece as a secular hymn representing that moment of leaving from the point of view of the parent bird.

“The lyrics attempt to mirror the birdsong as if directly translated, each verse representing a stage in that process of leaving; from teaching, encouraging, loving farewells and finally being left bereft and childless, yet overjoyed that the chicks have successfully grown and fledged.”

Memory version: