Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Blackbird.

The [Common] Blackbird (Turdus merula), a true thrush,  is one of our commonest garden species. Our resident mature male is easily recognisable in his glossy black coat with orange-yellow bill and eye ring as he regularly uses a high open perch nearby to survey his territory.

Whenever I see him I am often reminded of the initial verses of the nursery rhyme:

  Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye
Four-and-twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie
When the pie was opened the birds begin to sing
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the King.

During the winter he can be heard uttering his quiet sub-song from a hidden perch in an ivy clad tree but once spring arrives his calls become loud and varied.

Throughout the breeding season his song is rich, varied and flute-like, often finishing with a squeaky phrase.

William Henley wrote:
The nightingale has a lyre of gold,
The lark's is a clarion call,
And the blackbird plays but a boxwood flute,
But I love him best of all.

For his song is all of the joy of life,
And we in the mad, spring weather,
We two have listened till he sang
Our hearts and lips together.

If you are unfamiliar with its song that we hear most mornings, starting long before dawn awakens, then please listen to the sonogram below.

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday.


  1. They look prettier than our blackbirds, great shots!

  2. You can't beat a Blackbird. Got a pair visiting our garden at the moment so fingers crossed there will be young soon.

  3. So pretty.... Love the blackbirds.

  4. Superb images Frank, so vivid.

  5. It's certainly one of my favourite songs to hear come the Spring and Summer evenings.

  6. Great photos and thanks for including the bird song. Blackbirds were introduced into New Zealand and they are now naturalized over there. I grew up in NZ and remember that song from my childhood!

  7. Their song recording is quite sweet to the ear. Nice captures!

  8. Lovely representations of the creature. I enjoyed the song especially.

    ( '>

    ALOHA from Honolulu,

  9. Yes, the Blackbird is a beautiful gentle bird withamagnificent song. I love seeingthem in my garden.

  10. It has such a beautiful song! Love the poem...it was so appropriate! You took some gorgeous photos of this beautiful bird!

  11. Not much in colour, and yet oh so beautiful and your captures, show him off beautifully Frank~

  12. Boa tarde, conheço a linda ave preta, ela está bem fotografada, consegue transmitir a beleza da mesma na sua cor natural da pelagem e do bico.

  13. Beautiful! I love the last image of him singing, too.

  14. What an enigma this bird is, Frank! It looks somewhat like a starling or one of our blackbirds, yet I can see the similarity to a thrush as well. That song also has a combination of notes that remind me of a wood thrush song and yet, also a cowbird's song. What a unique bird! If I had seen this bird without knowing what you just told us, I would have been utterly baffled!

  15. Your Blackbirds are so much prettier than ours in the U.S. Their song is lovely and interesting to listen to. Thank you for recording and sharing it.


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