Some time ago I wrote about feeding wild birds for company if for some reason you didn’t want or couldn’t keep a traditional pet.
Well… let me tell you how some of my wild friends are doing.
During the spring and summer last year Mr and Mrs Blackbird entertained me greatly. Many birds mate for life and I don’t think Blackbirds are any exception. Mr Blackbird was very protective of his wife. When I threw out their daily snack Mr Blackbird would hop out from under the hedge, turn his head side to side checking that no human or other nasties were around. He would then go back to let Mrs Blackbird know that the coast was clear, whereupon they would come out together to eat their lunch. All very romantic.
Mrs Blackbird had lost her tail feathers somehow, but this didn’t seem to affect her or her spouse’s affection. I watched her feathers grow back over the season. Mr and Mrs Blackbird were excellent parents, feeding probably two or three clutches of dependent babies who quivered their wings and opened their beaks demanding parental feeding even though the food was right there on the ground in front of their noses – or rather, their beaks.
Mr and Mrs Blackbird are back together this spring and the relationship has changed somewhat. Mrs Blackbird has become a very confident and rather bossy lady now. I have noticed this week that as usual Mr Blackbird checking that the coast is clear, but then instead of dining together, Mrs Blackbird will chase him away preferring to eat on her own.
Maybe they’ve had an argument or two. Perhaps the exhaustion of successfully raising a number of chicks has put her off mating again so soon. Perhaps there are fledglings already waiting in the nest for food and romance is just off the agenda right now. There is still a twinkle in his eye and Mrs Blackbird’s bossiness is rather half-hearted, so I think everything is still okay. Maybe when the little ones have left the nest and energy restored, Mr and Mrs Blackbird will renew their devotion.
I’ll look out my kitchen window with interest.