Blackbird – Turdus merula
Ranks Number 2 in the Garden Bird Survey, seen in 98% of Irish gardens surveyed.
Average Lifespan: 3 years
The Blackbird is a familiar sight around our parks and gardens. The smart male is jet black with that stylish looking orange/yellow eye ring and matching bill colour. Females are browner overall and the young can appear quite thrush like with warm tones and some spotting on the underparts. In March, Blackbirds are in full soothing, meandering song, melodious and in no particular hurry! Sounds much less urgent to the ear than the Song Thrush, which repeats song phrases.
How to spot them: Blackbirds like open, mown lawns and leaf litter to feed in. They have distinctive behaviour characteristics: long tail is fanned and arched upwards on alighting. They like to forage by taking short runs, stopping and then listening for hidden insect prey with head tilted sideways. Apart from insects they consume great quantities of berries and fruit such as apples.
Nesting: Blackbirds like to nest in trees, hedges, shrubs, and climbers, anywhere in the garden with suitable cover , often choosing a fork or cleft in a tree or shrub. Nesting season March to June. the female lays 3 to 5 eggs which she incubates for about 15 days, fledging after a further 15 days when the young are fed by both parents. Blackbirds raise two to three broods per year.
Our Blackbirds are joined in winter by birds from Britain and Scandinavia.
Oldest known individual, 14 years.
To learn more about bird songs we recommend the Little Book of Garden bird songs and Little Book of the Dawn Chorus