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Why are blackbirds digging the garden

In all the years I have been gardening and feeding birds this is the first year that the blackbirds have decided to dig up everything in sight.  The garden looks a complete mess after a couple of days, bark mulch all over the paths, bulbs and plants dug up and left laying around, it's a constant battle putting it all back and very cold too.  Has anyone else experienced this.  It has always happened but not to the extent of this year. I love the birds to bits but they are trying my patience this winter.



  • Caz WCaz W Posts: 1,353

    Jobird, we love the blackbirds but have always referred to the as "The Hooligans".  imageThis tossing around of bark mulch whilst searching for food sounds like normal behaviour to me.  Got to say they've never dug bulbs up - the squirrel usually sees to that image .  

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    Just saving you a jobimage


  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,850

    Your soil must be easier digging than I'm used to Jobird. The blackbirds sling mulches  but the bulbs are in some pretty solid soil

  • They are just looking for something tasty to eat,annoying but imagethat's the joy of wildlife,and they will eat all those pesky snails and slugs.


  • discodavediscodave Posts: 510

    I have to say, I kept finding several bulbs and flowers damaged in the way. I eventually found out that it was squirels who were looking for food and random acorns they had buried earlier in the season, 2 of my large planters had to be re-done. Maybe if you are able to put some food out that they like they might stop searching for their natural food.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,146

    I feed the birds and put out plenty of sultanas, chopped apple and oats for the blackbirds, but I can't provide what's best for them - worms - they have to find those themselves, and they do. image 

    I love to watch the blackbirds rootling around in my borders for worms - it means my soil must be in pretty good heart.  After all, sweeping some bark mulch back off the path every few days isn't really that onerous is it?  Far better than starving birds IMHO.

    As for digging up plants and bulbs image unless  your bulbs are planted far too shallowly, or you've seen a blackbird with a trowel under his wing, it's unlikely to be them - far more likely to be pesky grey squirrels - plant your bulbs deep and in  'bags' made of small mesh chicken wire' - that'll stop the little blighters.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • My blackbirds dig through my compost bins & they can fairly shift a sizable amount in a short time!!  They love snacking on my worms.  Pity they didn't like the slugs so much.  The birds did a rubbish job on them last year.  If humans ate them I could have raised 3 sets of triplets out of my garden alone!

  • I have the same issue, At first I thought it was a cat as it was always a specific area of the border. After months of frustration and hazarding guesses I caught the blackbird digging and flicking the mulch all over the patio one morning in the exact places. I know it's frustrating but it is nature and unfortunately as others have said I love birds and although it's stressful sweaping the mulch back onto the border and recovering exposed plant roots put yourself in the animals position they have got to eat.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,146

    That's a good attitude you have there David image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • AlieshAliesh Posts: 179

    my bird feeders are hung on a dead maple  that i planted in a pot many years ago sadly it died on me last year,  so i trimmed the branches and now  its my bird feeding station, it has a slate mulch and the blackbirds constantly chuck it on the ground.

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