Friday, 10 July 2009

Voted least likely

to succeed, a pair of Blackbirds in my front garden fledged four young yesterday. I already mentioned that the female built the nest largely in one Sunday afternoon (7th June) dicing with death every trip as she repeatedly flew low over the busy main road with a beak full of grass. The nest was on the edge of a Berberis bush two feet from the ground and three feet from my living room window, on a route used by next doors cat and south facing.

On 11th June there were two eggs and four by the 13th. The female then started incubating and whilst not visible when standing nearby, could be seen when I was seated in my car on the drive. The male was largely absent except first thing in the morning when he did a stint and late evening when he would sit on my neighbours porch roof and declare his territory. As I sat in my armchair watching TV I would notice the whole bush shake as the bird left the nest, then appear and fly off for a feed. On 27th June I watched the female carrying food so as she left the nest I did a quick check for Magpies, Crows or Jackdaws and peered in to find four ugly naked chicks. By 4th July feeding had increased with both parents providing full beaks of worms and grubs which, helped by the wet weather were in plentiful supply. The downpours didn’t seem to worry them with the female returning to brood as soon as the rain started.

Having been quiet up to now, the young were now making noise as the parent approached which was very noticeable as I lay in my bed first thing each morning. More than once did I leap out as I heard the local Magpie family, all five of them, arguing in the garden just ten feet from the nest but rather than doing the usual Blackbird alarm panic, the parent preferred to perch in my conifer trees and use a mew call to calm the young. By 7th July the young were now largely fully feathered and on checking two young were in the bowl of the nest whilst two were sitting on the rim. Yesterday as I opened the front door at lunch time both parents rose up from the long grass near the drive (yes my garden is not what you could call manicured more abandoned) and on checking one fledgling peered back. I couldn’t see any birds in the nest but after checking under the car, drove off and left them to it.

Last night the male bird was still returning to the bush with food and the calls of two young secreted below could be heard. By this morning all was quiet, nest clean and empty and squashed rather than cup shaped. A common bird, a normal brood and a good result all viewed without needing to get off my fat butt……..that’s armchair birding for you.
PS just returned from the kitchen whilst waiting for the photos to upload and an adult feeding four juvenile Tree Sparrows on my seed feeder. Cracking!

No comments:

Post a Comment