#30DaysWild 7: Blackbirds

For day seven of 30 Days Wild, let me tell you about the blackbird and me…

Yesterday I wrote about how the full moon spells trouble for a type of seabird called the Manx shearwater. Yet, not all birds have a problem with the full moon. In particular I’ve noticed that blackbirds seem to be a fan. Often when the moon is full, and providing it rises before it’s completely dark, our local blackbird will find a perch from which to serenade it. I don’t hear him singing late at other times in the month – only for the full moon. Perhaps that’s what cemented my relationship with the local blackbird; a shared fondness for the full moon.

The blackbird? A blackbird? I think it’s the same one. Either way, year round he is a regular visitor to my garden – but more so in the spring when he comes to forage for food for his youngsters. The female blackbird comes too. But it’s the male I notice filling his beak, until he can get no more in, before flying off over the fence and back to wherever the nest is.

His beak is the same colour as the marigolds that grow in abundance round here. Some are more orange than others, but many are a mixture of yellow and orange – a little like the flesh of a nectarine. That’s the shade they have in common with the blackbird.

Blackbird by Mark Hamblin

At the start of lockdown, in that blessed quiet it brought with it, I would hear the blackbird at daybreak and dusk. His singing was a comfort. Then, for a week or so he seemed to stop. I was terrified a cat had got him and very relieved when after a while he returned to sing again.

Yesterday I had yet another wonderful blackbird moment. The male brought one of the youngsters to the garden and it followed him round, like a little shadow. Copying everything the male did but a few steps behind. At one point they stood side by side at the edge of the lawn and I could see the youngster wasn’t as tall as the adult male. I have no idea if it was father and daughter or father and son side by side. Whichever, it gave me a good feeling to think that the food I put out might have played a little part in it being there.

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