ox-e’en / Amanda Thomson
For several summers, I’ve stayed in a house in the middle of Abernethy Forest, in the Highlands of Scotland. Every morning I’d sit at a table and look out at the trees—birches before the swathes of Scots pines. Coal tits, blue tits, chaffinches and occasional siskins would fly in from the trees and a blackthorn hedge to feed from the niger seeds that were in a little metal cup on the window sill. So small and fleeting in the bigger landscape that was behind them, it took me ages to think to film them, to frame them in a way that that would put them front and centre, with their hurried breathing, the droplets of water on their breasts, their rapid wingbeats and incessant movements. These tiny birds. Coal tits weigh on average 8–10 grams, and later, when I walk with a bird ringer and see how he holds these birds in his hand, I see how delicate they are, how easily they could be broken.