10 things you didn't know about the blackbird

Did you know the blackbird is one of the most common and best-loved garden birds? Here are 10 things you might not know about these fine feathered friends.

The blackbird is one of the most common and best-loved garden birds. In most Western European countries, the blackbird maintains its position as top 10 in bird counts. And recently, the blackbird was ranked fifth in the Wild Birds Big Five by the members of Welcome Home Nature. But what makes the blackbird so special?

  1. When choosing their mate, females attach great importance to the color of a male’s beak. The brighter and more orange the beak, the healthier the male. Chicks from a male with a bright orange beak are more energetic and stronger than chicks from a male with a pale yellow beak.
  2. If you want a blackbird in your garden, you can lure it with some overripe apples or pears. Blackbirds are also fond of cherries, which they happily indulge in. They prefer to eat on the ground and will be content with some extra seeds on a patch of grass.
  3. Blackbirds are very beautiful singers, especially early in the morning and at sunset. They like to sing after a rain shower. You can hear the young males whistling as early as January; the adult males begin their birdsong in March.
  4. A blackbird's nest is a cozy little bowl shape made of twigs, leaves, grass, moss, and feathers. Mud serves as cement to hold it all together. Building a nest can easily take a week, and the female is in charge of its construction.
  5. Shrubs, hedges and trees are popular nesting sites. The nests hang quite low, so blackbirds are often prey for cats.
  6. The blackbird breeds two to three times a year: first in March, and again when the young of the first clutch are independent.
  7. A blackbird nest consists of three to six turquoise eggs with rust-coloured spots. The eggs hatch after two weeks. The parents feed their featherless and blind chicks for another two to three weeks before they fledge, and even after that, the chicks stay close by and are occasionally fed.
  8. There are an estimated 38 and 55 million blackbird pairs in Europe.
  9. Only the female incubates, but once the eggs have hatched, the male helps feed the chicks.
  10. Blackbirds are socially monogamous: 80% of couples stay together for life.

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