Blue Waxbills were always present on our farm, Dunduff, in the De Kaap Valley that stretches out from the foothills of the Makhonjwa Mountains. They would frequently gather around the outbuildings to feed on the spilled mealie meal or congregate at the bird bath on the front lawn.
My parents were particularly fond of them and, because the colour of their feathers were akin to the beautiful blue of my mother’s eyes, my father dubbed them ‘Mummy Birds’ when we were very young.
It is probably because of this that Blue Waxbills symbolise the enduring affection my parents had for each other.
Through all the ups and downs in their lives, my parents were the perfect role models for me in terms of their loyalty towards each other; their trust in each other; the forgiveness they showed; the compassion they both had for others; and above all, the love they had both for each other and for their children. It was love that bound us together as a family.
These tiny birds are among those that led me towards an interest in birds that has blossomed over time. Blue Waxbills still remind me of my mother and the close bond we shared.