Bird of the Month - February

Bird of the Month - February

Published: 3rd February 2020

Bird of the month – February – blackbird

Scientific name: Turdus merula

The February bird of the month is a garden mainstay, the blackbird. Blackbirds are the most common member of the thrush family and can be seen in gardens across the UK as well as on summer walks through woodland areas.

Blackbirds can be found in a number of different nesting habitats, but can be territorial in nature and will defend areas they deem to have the best nesting and food sources available.

 Identification:

  • Male – true to their namesake, male blackbirds are black, with a yellow bill and yellow ring around their eyes.
  • Female – female blackbirds are dark brown and have streaks on their chests and throat.
  • Juvenile – similar to females, juveniles are dark brown, but will also have gingery streaks covering their bodies.

Measurements:

Blackbirds on average can grow to an approximate length of 24cm, with a wingspan of 36cm and weigh up to 100g.

Breeding:

Blackbird breeding season can last for months, taking place anywhere between early March and late July. Blackbird chicks can still be found in nests during August. Blackbird breeding is determined by weather, with fluctuations of temperatures (hot or cold) bringing the season forward, or delaying it by several days.

Blackbirds will averagely rear 2-3 broods per breeding season. However, late broods are at risk of starvation if the weather becomes too dry in June.

Nesting:

Blackbird nests are built by females and can take up to two weeks to complete. Nests created in gardens will start appearing approximately two weeks earlier than their woodland counterparts. Nests can be found in a range of places, preferable options are trees and shrubs, but on occasion, nests can be found on the ground. If the stability holds, nests can be reused for successive broods.

Abundance:

The UK blackbird population was on a steady decline between the 1970’s and mid 90’s. However, numbers have been increasing throughout the years and blackbirds’ numbers are now more stable than they’ve been for a long time. Garden nests fledge more chicks than any other habitat.

In 2019, UK blackbird numbers were around 10-15 million, with approx. 5 million breeding pairs.

What they eat:

Blackbirds will feed on earthworms, caterpillars, insects and berries.

Products we offer:

Below is a list of items that you can find in Scotsdales stores. These are merely suggestions; we have many other great products available that are suited for long-tailed tits dietary requirements. 

Sunflower Seedss
Various size ranges available in store (whilst stocks last). Suet treats can be used with bird feeders, on the ground or on bird tables. 

We recommend the Gardman No Mess Sunflower Hearts 12.75kg – £24.99. Available in all stores and online (whilst stocks last). 

Mealworms
Various size ranges available in store (whilst stocks last). Mealworms can be used with bird feeders, on the ground, window feeders or on bird tables. 

We recommend the Gardman Mealworm 200g –  £4.99. Available in all stores and online (whilst stocks last).

Bird safety:

Please remember, that one of the commonest problems with local wildlife health issues in the UK is due to neglected and dirty feeders. We would like to ask that anyone wishing to assist in the feeding of wild birds makes sure to check and clean feeders regularly to help keep them safe and healthy. 

Looking for further advice?

Then why not pop into your local Scotsdales store today and speak with a member of our knowledgeable team. We will be happy to assist in any way we can with advice and guidance regarding the best options for birds in your garden.