Blackbird - Turdus Merula

Blackbird
(click to enlarge)
The Blackbird is a widespread resident of this country, and is amongst the top five most common visitors to the garden. It is quite entertaining to observe them just after dawn in early spring and summer on the lawn looking for earthworms; they run, stop in their tracks, put their head to one side as though listening, then suddenly pull an earthworm from the ground! They can also often be heard noisily rummaging through fallen leaves in search of a meal. Not
the most sociable of birds, they will at times aggressively defend their food source.

Identification
The male, pictured above, has a glossy black plumage all over with an orange/yellow bill and eye ring, whereas the female has a dark brown plumage with a yellow/brown bill. The young are a mottled brown colour. The Blackbird's song is a glorious one, delivered in a relaxed manner with lots of pauses, and is very varied. The older the bird, the more varied the song.

Nesting
Usually in a hedge, bush or creepers. The nest is made from vegetation such as grass, leaves and moss bound together with mud and has an inner lining of grass. The Blackbird rears several broods of young each year, and builds a new nest each time.

Food
During the summer mainly earthworms and insects, in the autumn and winter they love to eat berries as well.

Garden Tips
Blackbirds will eat kitchen scraps such as fat, cheese, sultanas and apples. These should preferably be offered at ground level. They may also make use of a large open-fronted nest box.