Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Blackbird behaviour

What a change in Blackbird behavior around the garden: a month or so ago we had a peak count on the Garden Bird Survey of 15 birds,  patrolling the grassy acre for worms and the like: a loose flock with common purpose that seemed to move in unison across the garden.

However that’s all changed; we have fewer birds now, with the winter immigrants no doubt on their way back to Germany and Belgium or further still (as demonstrated by ringing recoveries).

Instead, now we have males in twos, actively chasing off and escorting the weaker bird around the territory and putting on threat postures: I watched at least three sets of two behave like this, first thing this morning.. the females are keeping well out of it, most likely to be busy building a nest..


  1. For the last three or four mornings a Goldcrest has been singing loudly from a conifer tree outside my house. It's good to hear one (given the two hard winters, which must have affected their numbers) but I am amazed that just one tree seems to be enough for this bird to set up a territory. Or maybe it's a migrant and is only warming up before the real thing. Any thoughts?

  2. Goldcrests appear in our garden in November, presumed to be winter migrants, they are so common on headlands and islands in late October.. However the past two hard winters must have impacted on our smallest bird: they weigh just 5 grammes, lighter than a 20 cent piece! I too have begun to hear them around the garden, but they do have a selection of song perches and forage areas: Perhaps your returning bird has identified this tree because of its prominence: Blackcaps that winter in Ireland often break into song in March, before moving off back east to mainland Europe and before the arrival of fresh summer migrants from the separate winter population in Africa.