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Blackbirds - why do they do it?

Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 7,488
Something I've often wondered...
For example, this morning I got up and opened the patio doors at about 6:30.
Apart from the pigeons I heard a blackbird giving it's sharp repeated chirp, over and over, which sounds like an alarm call.
It was flying from one fence to another and back again clearly upset at something.
It's now 9:30 and is still going on.
It's something that happens very often and I'm curious to know why.
What is it that upsets them so much, and why does it go on for so long?
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 18,431
    Blackbirds turf the babies out of the nest before they can fly then feed them on the ground for about 2 weeks,  that’s why they kick up a fuss when anyone or a cat is around.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,065
    It is the same here at dusk. You'd think WW3 was breaking out from the racket every night.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 7,488
    edited 23 July
    Blimey - talk about harsh parenting!
    Thanks Lyn - that makes sense.
    I see her on the lawn throughout the day with a beak full of worms - so that adds up.
    There are plenty of cats around here, but most avoid my garden thanks to my pooch.
    I just wish she'd be a little quieter :)

    Very ture @steephill - it's doesn't make for a peaceful evening.
    I only really notice how long it's been going on when it stops - which I'm pleased to say it just has :)

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • SlipperyElmSlipperyElm Posts: 234
    The parents' alarm call seems to be twofold.  One, as a warning to the babies that potential danger is around and two, to distract attention from the babies by drawing it to her/himself.  Wrens do it very well, and very loudly, too.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,625
    edited 23 July
    The great tits often give an alarm call near the bird feeder. All the other birds rush for cover and the great tit then helps itself to the contents of the feeder in peace. The other birds always fall for it.

    Did anyone else listen to Outlook the other morning about a woman called Gisela Kaplan?  Apart from having lived a most extraordinary life, she told the story of an ancient galah (bird) that she inherited. It learned the names of her five dogs, watched her telling them to sit, understood the meaning of the sound “sit” and then proceeded to imitate her voice and command, getting them all to sit, then walked off and left them.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 3,979
    I too have a bit of a problem with cats, especially as my garden seems to be used as a creshe for a variety of birds.
    One recent problem is a ginger cat has started stalking the hedgehogs,  this has happened twice that I've seen, and only the cat spotting me has sent it away. Surely by now it would have realised hogs are not a pleasant thing to catch, but it still seems to be trying.🙄
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,230
    I suspect that if the cat does succeed in getting close to the hedgehog, it will quickly learn to leave well alone @purplerallim .
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 3,979
    I do hope so as it's a pest. I had to save a blackbird from its claws the other week.
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 1,039
    This year has been the largest number of blackbirds in our garden.
    Yes the alarm calls go one for hours and then all silent.
    Yesterday the green woodpecker was calling most of the day. We saw a juvenile in the orchard and wondered if it was calling for its parents.
  • SendmesunSendmesun Scotland Posts: 22
    Oh dear @Lyn -who knew the blackbird parents turfed them out the nest. Fascinating. Lots of hiding places in the borders here but that maybe explains a fluffy pile of black feathers in the middle of the lawn. Harsh! 

    Lots of blackbirds here too though. Usually it's just one pair. 

    And 12 screaching swifts. There were 4 initially. I was happy to see them arrive but what a racket they make in the evenings just now!

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