December 14th   Leave a comment

As I walked along Marketgate this morning to pick up my lift to St Andrews I nearly stepped on a blackbird. It was barely light and blackbirds are, well, black so I could barely see it. But it wasn’t moving far, staying firmly in my path and continuing to feed. It’s quite common for birds to lose their fear of people when it’s really cold and the last few days and nights have been below freezing. Blackbirds normally don’t take chances with predation risk, but when they are very hungry then an uncertain predation risk is more bearable than the certain starvation risk if they lose time feeding. If I had been a sparrowhawk I should think it would have been over the rooftops very quickly: it’s not that cold. Feeding at first light is another characteristic blackbird behaviour during cold weather. The sooner they get started on a cold day, then the more likely they are to find enough food to survive the coming long night. The worse thing that can happen is that they have to sit tight in a sheltered bush in the afternoon. But suspect the Marketgate blackbird was busy all day despite its early start, particularly with the rain freezing into an icy layer over the ground in the afternoon.

Blackbird – this one is a young male

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Posted December 14, 2017 by aboutcrail in Sightings

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