Here's some facts and info that you might not have known about your regular visitor...
Species Profile: Blackbird
|Male Blackbird. Photo by B. Burke|
- Blackbirds usually begin to sing around the end of January – a beautiful and easily-recognisable song. The first ones to start singing in the new year are males that hatched the year before, with older birds starting to sing around March.
- In urban areas, Blackbirds are often heard singing at night – confusing streetlights with natural sunlight. Blackbirds have large eyes relative to their body size so are often the first species to be active in gardens in the morning.
- The most common causes of death for Blackbirds, as revealed through ringing studies, are cats and cars!
- Blackbirds are a species of Thrush – just like Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare!
- Male Blackbirds are very territorial. Much of their territorial aggression is triggered by colour – the orange bills of other males. They’re much less aggressive to birds with yellow or brown bills, or Blackbirds with brown plumage – which means they don’t chase away females, and fledgling blackbirds don’t get harassed in their first few months either.
- Blackbirds are known to have ‘unihemispheric slow-save sleep’ – that is to say that one half of the brain sleeps while the other half is awake, which ensures it won’t get caught out by predators at night!
|Male Blackbird singing in the early morning. Photo by B. Burke|
|Female Blackbird. Photo by B. Burke|
|Male Blackbird feeding on berries during winter. Photo by B. Burke|
|Average number of Blackbirds per garden per week during the Irish Garden Bird Survey. Note the relatively stable trend, with high numbers during some particularly cold winters.|
|Blackbird migratory movements from the BTO book 'Time to Fly'|
Not all of the Blackbirds from these cold countries in northern and eastern Europe migrate - some stay put where they are, but research in Germany has shown that the ones that move to milder and warmer countries in the winter have better survival than those that stay put!
|Locations where Blackbirds from Ireland and the UK have been recorded in other countries. For full details see BTO website here.|
Blackbirds usually nest low down in a covered area such as a tree or shrub. They will sometimes use a well-placed open-faced nestbox however (the same type used by Robins). These boxes are available from the BirdWatch Ireland shop, and now is a really good time to put them up!
See this link here for nestboxes for Blackbirds and other birds in our shop.
If you're a Blackbird fan, we have a very popular Blackbird soft toy available in our shop for only €9, which sings a Blackbird song when you squeeze it!
We also have singing soft toys of Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Great Tit and Goldfinch!
We also have a Blackbird pin badge available for a donation of €2 - and plenty of other garden bird, owl, raptor, seabird and waterbird species available too!
|Your BirdWatch Ireland Membership Pack.|
|BirdWatch Ireland members receive our 'Wings' magazine four times per year.|