Saturday, 17 June 2017

Of blackbirds

We have a pair of blackbirds nesting in our courtyard. We are trying to be very quiet, as the last pair a couple of years ago deserted, because, I suppose, we were making too much noise. I've been watching them flying to and fro,with beakfuls of insects, and it set me thinking. Do they plan, or is it all instinct? Do two blackbirds get together and decide to build a nest, or do they decide to put a twig in a hedge, then another, then another etc until lo! a nest is formed?

And the eggs. Do they know there's a baby in each egg, or does that, too, happen in instinctive stage by instinctive stage? Are they surprised when each egg hatches? Pleased? Proud? And do they feed these babies instinctively, or do they have feelings for them?

I'm not looking for answers here, because I feel we humans have to have an answer for everything (eg 'a bird sings because its marking its territory.' Why can't a bird be singing just because it's a lovely day and it feels like it?), and I'm sure we're often wrong.

But I'm glad we have the blackbirds sharing our tiny courtyard. It feels like a privilege. And I shall go on watching them and keeping very, very quiet.....

12 comments:

  1. My parents had blackbirds nesting in the Virginia Creeper (I think it was a Virginia Creeper) in front of the kitchen window. They didn't seem in the least bit phased by human activity and came back year after year. As to what birds may think or not think I couldn't begin to speculate. I have enough problem with humans and, in theory as one of the species, I should have some vague idea.

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    1. Whatever their reasoning, they give us a lot of pleasure, Graham.

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  2. It's instinct but they get better with practise. I doubt they would leave a nest over noise as the noise was there when they built it.

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    1. Adrian, the problem is that when they start building, it's too cold for us to use the courtyard. It's when the weather warms up that they desert.

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  3. We had a sparrow's nest in the ivy outside the bedroom window a few years ago. We were heart broken when a violent wind storm blew the nest and hatchlings away one night.

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    1. Martine, I sympathise. I would feel just the same. I feel almost responsible for these blackbirds.

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  4. There is a pigeon sitting on a nest at the top of a shrub just 3 ft from my bedroom window. It's a shame it isn't a " nicer" bird...the world ( and our garden) has more than enough pigeons already!

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    1. Frances, I suppose a pigeon is better than nothing!

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  5. I used to love seeing the blackbirds in our other garden and those are interesting questions!

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    1. Yes, it does feel quite special, Rosemary.,The babies have now hatched, and we can just see a row of little open yellow beaks. Aaaaaah!

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  6. The blackbirds' song is my favourite sound to wake up to!
    I really like your thoughts about birds, Frances. Maybe you want to read what I wrote about a fundamental difference in humans and birds years ago:
    http://librarianwithsecrets.blogspot.de/2010/06/so-different.html

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    1. Yes, I think the blackbird has the best song. That link doesn't work, Meike. I'll have to copy and paste it.

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