You’d have grey hairs and a muddy beak too if you were busy rooting out worms ten to the dozen all day long to feed the demanding hungry mouths back home in the nest.
Who’d be a bird parent? The nonstop finding and gathering enough food to feed a multitude of gaping beaks, the constant flying out of the nest to dump chick poo and back in with the insects to generate more chick poo, the incessant and demanding cheep-cheep-cheeping….
I have nothing but admiration for these toilers!
On Sunday, I blogged about the wildflowers I’ve recently found still blooming in local farm fields. When I’ve been wandering those field edges, I have, of course, also been keeping one eye on the skies, to see what birds might be enjoying this currently unmanaged farmland. Here’s a selection …
There were several species of winter thrushes feeding in berry trees – Song thrushes, Redwings and a small flock of Fieldfares, and a large number of Blackbirds, the only ones I managed to photograph.
Two Chiffchaffs were chasing each other through tree branches. They’re late migrating but some Chiffchaffs do remain in Britain so maybe these two will stay local this winter.
A juvenile Dunnock was calling constantly, presumably for its parents, but they may well have decided it was time to cut the parental ties.
Reed buntings aren’t always found in reeds. A family of three were flitting from hedge to field, foraging for seeds and insects.
This is the one that didn’t make it. It’s a Blackbird’s egg, I think, and it looks like a hole’s been pecked in it, probably by another bird, like a Magpie or a Crow. It’s always a little sad to see things like this but it’s just the way the natural world works.
It’s only been a few weeks since I saw my first winter thrushes of the season but now they’re everywhere, feasting on autumn’s bounty of lush, delicious berries. Song and Mistle thrushes, Blackbirds, Redwings and Fieldfares and, not a thrush, the Woodpigeons are also indulging in the berry-fest. The Redwings are particularly skittish but I’ve managed to sneak up on a few to grab photos, though, more often than not, the whole tree I’m trying to approach will suddenly erupt with birds flying off in all directions. And then I feel a little guilty about interrupting their repast.
As I’m sure most of you know, birds undergo a moult of their feathers after breeding, which is why everything goes very quiet for a few weeks: they’re vulnerable to predation while their new feathers are growing in. This Blackbird appears to have completed its moult of body feathers but not yet its head. Either that or it has some kind of infection or parasite, perhaps, that’s caused this partial loss.
Fortunately, the bird’s baldy look is not affecting its ability to get about or feed. As I watched this morning, it cleared away a big pile of leaves and snaffled down the fat juicy worm it found.
I know Blackbirds like to find a nice high location from which to sing their lovely warbling melody but this local Blackbird has shunned the chimney pots and tree tops to seek out the highest possible spot he can find, the top of the only church spire in town. Several times a day he’s up there, announcing his presence, advertising his territory, spreading joy to all who hear him … except, perhaps, other male Blackbirds.
Actually, my Blackbird’s not been singing in the dead of night but just after six most mornings, and it’s getting earlier as the days grow longer. Soon, I shall probably be cursing it but for now I love being woken up by the dulcet tones of a Blackbird’s song.
This was such fun that I have not one but six photos for you today. As part of my walk from Roath Park via Bute Park to central Cardiff, I was wandering around Cathays Cemetery when I spotted this male Blackbird. He was using a water-filled urn on a grave, and his enjoyment of his bath was so wonderful to see that I was actually laughing out loud watching him. I hope these images make you smile as much as I was.