The Humble Dunnock

The Dunnock, or Prunella Modularis, is one of my favourite garden birds. A grey-brown species that flicks its tail as it walks, it is often mistaken for a regular sparrow. It’s sometimes referred to as a hedge sparrow, but it isn’t strictly of the sparrow family. It is an unobtrusive garden visitor, solitary in its living and rather plain in its plumage. It lacks the showy confidence of the robin and is sometimes subjected to its red-breasted aggression. So what’s so special about such a boring-looking bird? 

The dunnock is a rather beautiful singer. You can hear it here: . Secondly, it eats up insects and spiders, saving the gardener the need to apply nasty chemicals. This little bird, though nothing to look at, is both useful and mellifluous.

We Christians could learn a thing or two from that dunnock. We live in a world that prizes the human equivalents of the chattering house sparrows, brash robins and proud blackbirds. Like the unassuming and gentle dunnock, our beauty should be found in our praise of God and the good labours we perform in Christ. 

Photo by Smalljim - own work, CC BY 3.0,