Blackbirds nesting in my garden

by Adam Pasco

What better accolade is there for a gardener than the reward of having wildlife use the habitat created for them?

Birds bring gardens alive, and in so many ways they make gardening worthwhile. It's lovely having them as companions, delving into newly dug soil for worms and pests, but better still when they take up residence and make a nest.

What better accolade is there for a gardener than the reward of having wildlife use the habitat created for them? Two pairs of blackbirds regularly dart about my lawn feeding, chasing and protecting their territory. I'm not sure where their boundaries lie or whether they're happy sharing the garden. One pair has nested near the house in a thicket of boundary shrubs, while the other built a nest close to my greenhouse. I noticed them first when they gave themselves away darting in and out of a large laurel. Closer inspection revealed a nest (pictured, above) with a fluffy pile of chicks - four I think - a wonderful bonus for any gardener.

As always, I tried to keep away from the nest as much as possible so the parents could feed their chicks un-hindered. They must know me well, as they're often out with me while I'm gardening, but birds must find it hard knowing who is friend or foe in a world full of dangers.

A couple of days after taking this picture I took another quick peep into the laurel but found the nest empty. Had the chicks flown the nest, or had a predator struck?

Last week, while inspecting my standard roses for signs of pests I was amazed to come face-to-face with another nest perched in the thorny head of the bush. It contained three small speckled blue eggs. I quickly moved away, and from a distance I watched a song thrush return to incubate her clutch.

All birds are wonderful, but the song thrush is my absolute favourite garden bird. It's a true beauty, not as bold as many others, but always a delight to see. Telltale empty snail shells indicate its presence, highlighting its welcome role in natural pest control. I wish these new offspring a long and rewarding life foraging for pests in my garden.

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Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2008 at 10:05

Isn't it amazing where birds will nest! A few years ago. a song thrush built a nest in a sparsely leaved young passion flower growing by the front door of one of the therapy rooms where I work. The mother had very little cover, but sat there in all weathers and with people going in and out at frequent intervals. I have also seen a blackbird nesting in a potted apple tree in a garden centre. Brave creatures!

Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2008 at 14:12

Do I need to feed them all year.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/06/2008 at 15:52

Hi reading the letters about birds in the garden made me remember a really tatty blackbird that used to come in our garden she had a big lump under her chin and feathers missing from her head hence the name tatty head that we gave her and she was a joy to have around and became very use to us and came back every summer to nest in the garden it was a sad year when she did'nt return, but we are sure that her off springs are here even the odd one with a tatty head

Gardeners' World Web User 19/06/2008 at 21:50

help - can anyone recommend a squirrel-proof peanut feeder?

Gardeners' World Web User 20/06/2008 at 17:21

I always find it a real honour when a bird decides to bring its family into the world in your garden. They are so trusting and i find myself getting very protective of their babies are born. I,too, use my water pistol to shoo away nosy cats that could pose a threat to these tiny creatures. This year, i am delighted to welcome into my garden, a very busy woodpecker who is constantly looking for tasty treats for her new family. How exciting!!!

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