blackbird nest

April, usually in the same territory year after year, unless deposed by another male. “The blackbird,” according to Oliver, “usually chooses a secluded place to sing, and its song is similar to but richer than that of the thrush. The first month during which its full song may be heard is July, but part songs may be heard during the previous three or four months. The song usually ceases in December but has been heard as late as February. They also have a distinctive alarm call, akin to a loud clatter.

“The nest is built by the female or both male and female in a small tree or shrub, or in a tussock, or even on a ledge in a shallow cave. It is constructed of grass matted together by mud and lined with finer grass. Eggs are found from September until to December but in the Auckland district eggs have been found in August and as early as June. The eggs are bluish green speckled with brown. The clutch is usually four or five eggs.

“The female carries out the incubation during which time she is fed by the male. Incubation normally takes fourteen days but thirteen and sixteen days have been reported. Both birds feed the nestlings.”

The blackbird’s food consists of insects, snails, worms, seeds and fruit. In dry weather, especially when feeding young birds, they may kick out plants in the garden which have been watered in the effort to find food. They hop rather than walk which distinguishes them from the starling which waddles.

Albinos do occur quite often but partial albinos, or leucistic birds, are more frequently seen.

The blackbird, together with the myna, pollinates the South American fruit feijoa in New Zealand. They feed on the sweet and juicy petals of the brightly coloured flowers. Small birds, such as white-eyes, visit feijoa flowers but are apparently ineffective pollinators.

—  Narena Olliver,  Greytown, 2007.

Taxonomy
Kingdom:
Animalia.
Phylum:
Chordata.
Class:
Aves.
Order:
Passeriformes.
Family:
Muscicapidae.
Genera:
Turdus.
Species:
merula.
Sub Species:

Other common names:  — 

Black ouzel, woozel, merle, chucket, gottling, Turdus vulgaris.

Description:  — 

Introduced bird

25 cm, 90g; adult male, black with bright orange bill; adult female, dark brown with pale throat and mottled breast, bill brown and dull orange; juveniles, rust brown with mottled breast, bill dark brown; immature males have brown wings against a brown body, patches of black; bill dark.

Where to find:  — 

Widespread and common.

More Information:  — 

»»»  Blackbird page

Poetry:  — 

I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

III
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

VI
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

VII
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

VIII
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

XI
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

XII
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

— Wallace Stevens

Credit for the photograph: — 

Illustration description: — 

 

Morris, Reverend F.O., A Natural History of the Nests and Eggs of British Birds, 1863.

Reference(s): — 

 

Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: — 

 

Saturday, 17 May, 2014; ver2009v1

 
 
 

©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.