Now there’s a big word to conjure with on a cold and wet Monday morning. Defined as the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, it can be seen at it’s best in cartoon characters such as Donald Duck and Top Cat or the delightful children’s book Alices Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

I’m sure anyone who has owned a pet has done this, I know I have, but I also find myself doing something a bit similar with the birds who visit the bird feeder in the garden.

Starlings, crows and magpies, for example, always look big enough to look after themselves, and are quite aggressive, so don’t engender much sympathy. Wrens and coal tits on the other hand are so small and cute and don’t look big enough to be out on their own, so you take a shine to them immediately.

Robins are the garden clowns, bobbing up and down with their bright eyes, red breasts and oh so thin legs, but don’t be fooled, they do have an aggressive streak, particularly with each other.

The long-tailed tits who go everywhere in a gang, remind me of naughty school boys out to cause mischief, and the wood pidgeons and collared doves just seem like their slow and more sensible older siblings.

The chaffinches seem quite aloof and very business like, just getting on with their feeding and ignoring any of the mayhem going on around them, it’s as if they consider themselves too good for such petty bickering, but it is the pheasants who are the real aristocracy, strutting around the garden in their regal finery.

However, the bird that I really like and really feel for is the thrush. Not the most regular visitor to the feeder, but when he does come he always gets chased off by a blackbird. They just don’t want him anywhere near and he scuttles off into the bushes. I feel so sorry for him, he seems so nervous and I just think of him as one of life’s victims.

I don’t think he goes hungry, despite being chased off the food, as our garden is full of snails and slugs, and many times I’ve seen a thrush bashing a poor snail against one of the stepping stones in the lawn. You can hear them doing this if it’s quiet, an unmistakable sound, once you know what it is.

There’s one particular place near the pond that must be one of the favourite places as it is always full of broken snail shells. They really are a handsome bird and listening to their song is an absolute joy.