Focus on blackbirds

Having written a Haiku about blackbirds for day 9 they seem like a good choice for today’s focus. Blackbirds are one of the UKs commonest garden birds. In my last garden, in a more urban environment, blackbirds and pigeons were pretty much my only visitors initially. They are the bird I associate most with gardens, although they are happy in all habitats across the UK except the highest peaks.

Turdus merula, one of the few Latin names I remember is badly named really. The majority of blackbirds are not black. For a start females are brown. Then fledglings are also brown with a brown beak. As they reach maturity males turn black and the beak yellow. The change can act as a trigger for more aggressive behaviour towards them from other male blackbirds as they fight over territory.

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Their mellow song is rather beautiful and one of the easier birds songs to recognise. From hearing the song you can often then locate them. As I’ve observed blackbirds I’ve come to recognise several regulars through their white patches. Albinoism is common in blackbirds. They each have their own distinct likeable personalities.

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Blackbirds like a diet of worms, so favour ground feeders, but will eat from hanging feeders. Any time I’ve been digging in the garden the blackbirds will turn up. Population had declined from the 70s, possibly due to loss of hedgerows, but more recently their numbers have risen putting them out of the amber list and back on green. If you want to help blackbirds like open nest boxes. During dry weather worms stay hidden away, so don’t forget to help out and feed the birds.

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