Early birds

Two years ago, I noticed that a pair of blackbirds had nested in a large clump of ivy at the bottom of my garden. Unfortunately, the boundary wall was being used as a highway by neighbourhood cats, and some of the fledgling blackbirds fell prey to passing moggies. So I put up some chicken wire to block off access to the top of the wall, which deterred the cats. Last year, the nesting pair successfully raised at least four young because I spotted the entire family chirping from an overhead wire at one point last summer. This year, the parents have made an early start. Two young blackbirds have been bouncing about the garden for the last week. Blackbird eggs take 13-14 days to hatch and the newly-hatched birds take about the same length of time to leave the nest. So the female probably laid the eggs in late February. There is a noticeable difference between the two young blackbirds – the older of the two is more or less independent of its parent whereas the younger one is still chasing ‘Dad’ around the garden looking for food (pictured above). The male adult blackbird has the sole job of feeding the fledglings – the female is presumably sitting on her second clutch of eggs, which will hopefully hatch in another week or so.

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