Monday, 25 February 2013

Black

Among Britain's most numerous birds and certainly one of our most easily identified, is the Blackbird (Turdus merula).  With a population of up to 15,000,000 individuals, they are common in our gardens, both in town and countryside.  This male bird was picking around under our hedge this morning, searching for scraps of fat-ball which were being dropped by the Sparrows above.
The males live up to their name and look rather exotic in their black plumage with that wonderfully coloured bill.  But the females, being drab and brown, really don't seem to warrant the name.  Feeding on berries, worms and insects, they have a varied diet which is one of the reasons why they do so well and are able to stay put all year round.  They have the most beautiful song well known to us all.
Blackbirds were once eaten in Britain (along with most other small birds) and were even placed, still alive, under the crust of a pie before being served to the gentry in medieval times.  Probably where the old nursery rhyme 'Sing a song of sixpence' comes from.
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