Common Blackbirds are an introduced species in Australia. Their range here is south of a line from Sydney in NSW to Port Lincoln in South Australia and they are found throughout South Eastern Australia, including large parts of Victoria and Tasmania. They are particularly found in parks and gardens where they enjoy scratching around in the leaf litter and mulch for their food. Many gardeners despise the Common Blackbird for their untidy habit of flicking bark, leaves, mulch and sticks on to their nice, neat garden paths.
The Blackbird may be an introduced species, it may have untidy eating habits but this is more than made up for by its beautiful song. There are few birds in Australia that can match the song of a Blackbird singing in the late winter or spring evenings. It fills the air with a rich melodic harmony.
We didn’t have any resident Blackbirds in our garden here on the outskirts of Murray Bridge South Australia until a few years ago. The occasional visitor, yes, but not resident. Now they have moved in and have started breeding. Several times they have used an unusual nesting spot. They fly into a shed in my wife’s nursery through a small gap above the door. They then proceed to make a bowl shaped nest in one of the many empty plant pots we store in the shed. How lovely and cosy – out of the cold, the wind and the rain.
Despite them now being resident I find that “our” blackbirds are quite timid and are rather camera shy. It was with great delight that today I have been able to take some close up shots of both the male and the female (she is a dull brown colour) fossicking for beetles and worms just outside our sunroom window. This makes a perfect bird hide for photography.
- This article has created quite a deal of interest. Read the comments section below for the experiences of other people with Blackbirds.
- Related articles: Do Blackbirds Swoop? An article about aggressive bird behaviour with many interesting comments and observations from readers of this blog.
- For more articles about Blackbirds nesting read
- “Anyone for a Swim? Forget it Baby Blackbird”
- “Hear the Blackbird singing in the morning”
Update #2: A further update on this post was made in July 2015.
We live at Seaford and have a pair of Blackbirds nesting in our stag horn hanging on the garage wall. There are 4 eggs but we do not know if they are viable, or if they are, how long they will take to hatch. Unfortunately we also have crows hanging around and they often take the babies. This is the first year blackbirds have nested in our yard which is quite small.
Welcome to my blog. I hope you found it interesting. When you say you live in Seaford, do you mean Seaford – a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia? If so – we are nearly neighbours!!!!!
Congratulations on being so observant of the birds in your backyard. Most people don’t notice our rich bird life, and if they do, don’t care much.
Clutch size is usually 3 eggs but 4 is not unusual. The eggs usually hatch after 13 or 14 days after the last egg is laid. If the female is not sitting on the nest, it has probably been abandoned. There is nothing you can do in this situation.
Crows, ravens and magpies, even currawongs, can be nest robbers, either the eggs or the little birds after hatching. There is little one can do – it is sad but that is nature’s way. It seems cruel to us, but think of the little crows in their nest. A tasty meal of a baby bird would help them to survive. One species loss is another’s gain.
Hi, I live in Port Augusta South Australia.
I found a baby blackbird (well i think it is a blackbird) a cat was playing with it in the yard, until i chased around and finally got it.
I now have him in a little box wrapped in an ostrich feather scarf.. I’ve been feeding him sao biscuits placed in water with a saringe he seems to be eating it, and he’s chirping, but im unsure if he will be getting the proper diet which he should have…… Please help i have no idea what else to do and don’t want to see him die… I’m doing the best i can but need heaps of advise
pretty please e_mail me ASAP
PS I have deleted your email address from this comment to prevent you getting spam.
Hi there Katie. We used to live in Port Augusta in the 1970s. I was a teacher at Carlton Primary School and then was one of the original staff members when Augusta Park PS opened.
I have replied to your request about feeding baby Blackbirds by email.
For other people reading this, the following site gives a recipe for preparing food for a baby Blackbird:
I have a blackbirds nest in my courtyard (quite small) in a pittosporum tree at Magill, virtually under a pergola. This is the second year they have nested. Last year the tree was trimmed, as I don’t particularly like birds nesting so close to my patio door. This year they were quicker than me! I do have a fear of birds especially those that swoop. Are you aware of blackbirds swooping?
[…] Do Blackbirds Swoop? This intriguing question was posted by Jill on one my earlier articles. I assured her in my reply that I have never heard of this species swooping humans. […]
Hi there Jill. In response to your question I have written an entire article on aggressive bird behaviour. You can read the article by clicking on the heading of the above comment (no.6).
My mother had a male blackbird in her garden in Canberra. She only moved to Canberra from the NSW Coast last winter (2005). She and I have seen the male last year and he returned late this winter. I have never seen a nest or a female. His song was beautiful in the early mornings and evenings. He loved to forrage in the mulch in my mother’s garden and she didn’t mind. She was delighted to have him in her garden. Sadly yesterday, we saw a mass of black feathers in the mulch. My mother and I think one of the many neighbourhood cats that parade through her garden (sadly!) must have got him and most likely killed him. There are too many feathers there to make us think that he would have survived. We are very sad and this morning the only bird sounds to be heard were the Indiah Minah (urrgg!!) and a few parrots and the odd pee wee. All very nice, but how we miss the blackbird’s beautiful song! If only cat owners were more responsible and didn’t think it was a cat’s “divine right” to leap the neighbourhood fences and kill birdlife!!
A question from Andrea from Canberra. Does anyone know if, once a male blackbird is killed by a predator in a suburban garden, whether another male blackbird may eventually come into the same territory to raise a family? As mentioned in my previous posting, a blackbird was most likely killed by a cat in my mother’s Canberra garden yesterday. I am hoping that eventually another male blackbird may find my mother’s garden and we will once again hear their beautiful song.
Thank you if anyone knows the answer to this query.
Welcome to my birding blog, Andrea. I too love the call of the male Blackbird at this time of the year. I know that they are an introduced species but they are such endearing creatures.
“Our” pair tried to nest recently in our garden shed. They made their nest in an empty pot-plant pot. Trouble was, we had stacked these pots up about two feet high and the pile toppled over and they lost the eggs. They haven’t made another attempt yet.
I don’t appreciate cats around our garden either. While I haven’t seen any evidence of deaths caused by our neighbour’s cat, there is always that possibility. Cats possibly account for more deaths than anything else in our Australian environment; they will take not only birds but also lizards, frogs and small mammals.
There is no place in our environment for cats. The backyard moggie is bad enough. The feral version in the wild is much bigger, stronger, cunning and is a fiercesome killing machine.
As for the male in your mother’s yard, given time another male should fill this gap. It may not be for a few months but eventually it should happen. Let us hope that his place is not taken by an Indian Myna.
Thank you very much for your prompt reply. That is heartening news that another blackbird family may at some stage inhabit my mother’s garden. As I said, I can’t believe how sad I am (and her) over the death of the blackbird. I am a bird lover and have two much adored hand-reared and tamed female lutino cockatiels as pets and I have cherished the experience of being with them over the past five years!
Yes, agreed that domestic cats and feral cats are a real nuisance! I am not a cat person, but have to admit to having liked one or two in my life. Overall, it’s a shame that State Governments can’t legislate to make cat owners put their cats in large “cat runs” in their backyards – much like a large version of the rabbit hutch. But, of course, how would it ever be “policed”?
I will read with interest more on your site about birds in general and your travels. Thanks again for your prompt reply.
Andrea from Canberra
My pleasure Andrea. You are invited to visit my blogs anytime and comment whenever you like. I really enjoy getting comments on what I see, write and photograph. Have you checked out the family photo gallery? It can be found here
It includes photos taken by my son in Sydney and my wife who has a plant nursery. My daughter taught in England last year but she hasn’t had time to upload her photos yet.
can you please advise me of a website where I might find a photo of a baby blackbird? I rescued a baby bird last night and we are not quite sure if he is a black bird or not. Can you help? He is very tiny, has very fine tufts of grey down on his body and a big wide yellow mouth. When his mouth is shut he looks like he has yellow lips. He has smal dark beady eyes with no yellow around them.
Hi there Kim – welcome to my blog. When birds are newly hatched it is hard to tell which species they are. It could also be a baby starling as they are currently nesting as well. All my bird books do not give descriptions of newly hatched Blackbirds but my guess is that it is a Blackbird, Starling or maybe even an Indian Myna, depending on where you live as not all of these species are found all over Australia.
I found a few websites and I have emailed them to you.
Hi, I have nesting bleackbirds in my Canberra garden, we have cats and the neighbours have cats and dogs, but the blackbirds have never been caught by these (in 25 years) BUT the currawongs (of which there are 2) and the magpies (of which there are anywhere between 5 and 45) steal from the nests very regularly. The male blackbird is very clever at varying his approach to the nest, coming in ever decreasing spirals, often from very low in the shrubbery. Real undercover workers, and their song is gorgeous. I wish the currawongs could be persuaded to feed their babies on the (very)noisy Mynahs instead! The cats are either lazy, old, too well fed or all three, as they do not catch birds, and do catch mice and rats. The dense prickly type shrubs are a help too. I won’t get rid of my cats as they are my closest friends, but I do lock them in at night.
Hi there Jet, welcome to my blog. The Currawongs and Magpies can be nest robbers but I guess their babies need feeding too. I agree – it would be better if they took the Mynah eggs instead.
The Blackbirds are clever birds. I too love their call. It’s good to hear that you are a responsible cat owner. Your description of the lazy cats gave me a good laugh.
Hi, though I thought the currawong had done for the blackbirds yesterday, I am pleased to say that there appears to be normal movement at the station! I think we have at least 3 male blackbirds, bit I only know of one nest, which I pretend not to have seen! The males are very bold indeed, and often come quite close and watch us have our cuppa at the outdoor table
That’s good news. We too enjoy watching the birds in our garden, and I hope that comes out in my writings on this blog. In fact, much of what I write about comes from spending a fair part of each day out in the garden.
When I’m helping my wife in her native plant nursery I make sure she stops mid morning and mid afternoon and sits down with a cuppa. Often the honeyeaters will come and feed from the plants that are flowering and we position ourselves to get a front row seat to watch them.
My wife’s nursery blog is found here
Hello Trevor, I am happy to report that one week after the assumed death of a male blackbird in my mother’s Canberra garden by a neighbourhood cat, she has spotted another male foraging in the mulch in her garden. I have seen the new male blackbird as well. We assume there must be a group of blackbirds in the area. The new male we have seen isn’t as bold yet as the blackbird that died. The previous blackbird was frequently seen in the garden and even the BB@ and courtyard areas of my mother’s house. The new blackbird is “timidly” scratching in the compost heap and edges of the backyard.
I am very glad that your prediction of blackbirds re-visiting Mum’s garden has come true sooner than maybe expected.
Andrea from Canberra
That is really good news Andrea. We’ve also had a recent delight with “our” Blackbirds. Their nest in the pot-plant container in our garden shed was not successful because the pile of pots fell over.
A few days ago I discovered a new nest, this time in the swimming pool shed on top of the roll of pipe used to vacuum the rubbish from the bottom of the pool. It now has babies in it so I can’t clean the pool until they have flown.
I will write a new article about that nest soon, including a photo.
That is lovely that you have a new nest of blackbirds in your swimming pool shed. I hope all goes well with “your babies” and that there is more success this time than the nest in the pot plants.
Aren’t birds amazing and inventive creatures!
Andrea from Canberra
I was planning to start cleaning the pool ready for the summer swimming season soon. I will have to delay that by a few weeks. The nursery cannot be disturbed!
They certainly are inventive creatures.
I agree that your swimming pool cleaning will have to be delayed for the “nursery” and I hope that you don’t have a sudden heatwave, where your family would like to use the pool in the meantime!
More good news from my mother’s Canberra garden – we have both seen a male and female blackbird foraging in her garden bed. We hope that a pair may be nesting somewhere nearby. I have also seen a male whistling his beautiful tune in a large tree in Mum’s garden. All seems to be well, despite the cats!
Sadly, on my way to work today, I saw a woman in a large car hit a flock of wattle birds on a busy Canberra highway and one was killed outright. I was quite angry at her, because there were no cars behind her and she could have done a quick look in her rear view mirror (like I do) before making the split second decision whether or not it was safe to touch the brakes, to let the birds fly to the other side of the road. Whenever I see birds flying low on the road, I slow down, glance quickly in the rear view mirror to see the distance of the cars behind me and then make a decision whether I can afford to touch the brakes lightly enough to allow a bird or birds to get past my car and safely onto the nature strip. This woman appeared to “mow” into the flock of wattle birds without a care in the world and when I caught up with her at traffic lights, she didn’t look at all remorseful. I can’t believe some people!
Andrea from Canberra
The nest in out pool shed is going fine with the parents busy feeding those gaping mouths. See the photo and read about it in the Related Articles section at the end of the article above.
Good to hear of your careful driving skills. If all people drove defensively we would have far fewer accidents, including animal casualities. Over all my years of driving (nearly 40) I can only remember hitting three birds all on three consecutive days travelling in NSW. On every occasion I’d hit the bird before seeing it so couldn’t avoid the accident. Very sad.
I have been trying to find information on blackbirds and come across your wonderful website. I have been watching a male and female pair of blackbirds in my gardden for about 2 years now and it is lovely to have a resident pair. Naturally I have seen them nesting and have also been watching the progress of their fledglings, which unfortunately has not been a happy experience for very long because inevitably they “disappear”. My resident pair recently had 3 chicks which I watched emerging from the nest and learn to fly. Not long after, there were only 2 chicks left, and then just one. I was observing the remaining fledgling follow his/her parents around my garden, hoping that at least this little one would survive. The little bird was just 11 days out of the nest and seemed to be doing very well. However, after a very windy night 2 nights ago, the next day the little one was not seen and I assumed the worst. I believe it is dead, as it is 3 days later and although the parents are in my garden, the little one is not. I am very upset about it. I would like to know if the strong winds could have unsettled the little one, causing it to be more easily caught by a cat or perhaps fly into a window? I have 2 cats, but I have an extensive cat run where they can enjoy the outdoors but not disturb the wildlife. Like Andrea, I wish all cat owners would place their cats in a cat run – it is a great investment and doesn’t have to be expensive. I constructed part of mine myself, modelled on the ready-made version and using the same type of wire as the ready-made version. The cats soon get used to it, especially if they are kittens and have never gone outside freely before. One of my cats was almost 10 years old when I acquired the enclosure and he is very happy because before, at night, he would be locked indoors, but now the cats can enjoy the outdoors even at night which they just love, and no wildlife is killed or injured. I love cats and it is not their fault that instinct compels them to catch birds; it is the fault of irresponsible cat owners. The Cat Crisis Coalition is asking for compulsory desexing of cats in Victoria (with the exception of those licensed to registered breeders), which would reduce the amount of feral cats and also the 36,000 cats and kittens that are tragically euthanased in Victorian shelters each year because there are not enough homes for them. It would be a win for cats and for birds and wildlife.
I also am appalled by all the bird and possum deaths on the roads and cannot understand how people can be so careless and heartless when driving. I always slow down when I see birds at the side of the road. Also, I have noticed that if one bird has just flown low across a road, another is sure to follow, so keep a look-out for the second one too.
It’s Andrea from Canberra again. I have just read Lisa from Melbourne’s posting on your website and applaud her for having a cat run. While I don’t have cats myself, and I am useless with a hammer and nails, I would happily pay somebody else to make a cat run for me, if I had cats. Lisa’s concern for the blackbirds and other wildlife in her garden and her concern in general for wildlife is wonderful, isn’t it. If Victoria does agree to the compulsory de-sexing of cats (apart from registered breeders), Victoria would be once again, in my opinion, be one of the more advanced States in this country when it comes to innovative legislation, unlike New South Wales or the ACT, which in my opinion (especially the ACT) lag behind in many areas.
Lisa’s query about what is happening to the baby blackirds in her garden is an interesting one and I will await with interest to see if Trevor is able to shed any light on why the babies dissapear. I hope it isn’t foxes or neighbourhood cats.
I am very happy to report a number of sightings in my mother’s Canberra garden of a male and female blackbird pair. They appear to have taken up residence, after the other male blackbird was presumably killed by a cat a few weeks ago. I have also heard the song of the male blackbird in my own Queanbeyan (NSW) small townhouse garden from time to time. When I visit my sister in Sydney, all I can hear in her garden is the call of the Indian Mynah. It looks like that species of bird has taken over northern Sydney!
Andrea from Canberra
Hi Lisa, welcome to my blog. Thank you for your kind words.
It is very distressing for bird lovers to see the little birds disappear or be killed in some way so soon after hatching or leaving the nest. If we knew the figures, I think we would be horrified by the enormous attrition rate in our fauna, not just birds.
Some possibilities include the following:
1. Removal from the nest by cuckoos. We have several species of cuckoos in Australia. The female lays one egg in a host nest. This could be a thornbill, honeyeater or many other species. The host bird hatches the eggs and the baby cuckoo hatches first and it removes all other eggs in the nest in the first hour or so after hatching. It then gets ALL the food from the host parents. Harsh yes – but this is normal, natural cuckoo behaviour.
2. Predation of eggs or chicks: this could be from ravens, crows, currawongs, butcherbirds, hawks and even magpies. Cats, foxes, snakes and lizards, especially goannas, will raid nests.
3. Once fledged and out of the nest the young birds run the gauntlet of so many hazards including all in number 2 above. Add to those hazards the problem of being hit by speeding cars, wild storms, flying into glass panes (very common), captured by well meaning people and not cared for properly, heavy rain, cold nights and so on.
It is a wonder that any survive at all, especially in urban areas. This is in part compensated for by the following strategies:
(a) Laying 3-5 eggs for each clutch as this increases the success rate
(b) cleverly camouflaging the nest – with all my experience I am still fooled by their cryptic nest sites.
(c) breeding two or three times in one season.
It would certainly help if all cat owners were responsible and made a run for their animals. This would eliminate some deaths in our fauna, but a far greater problem is the feral cats. There is no control of these and all are very big, strong and cunning. I agree with you that compulsory desexing of cats is the way to go, but it would only be a start. Catching all the feral cats is probably not feasible. Making sure no more are added to their ranks will be a good start though. There has been similar talk here in South Australia but it is only talk at this stage. Not a popular vote catcher unfortunately.
Hi there again Andrea. You are becoming a regular contributor to my comments. I like that – keep it up. Some of your questions are probably answered in my response to Lisa above.
The Common Blackbird has not really established itself throughout the Sydney area. Its occurance there is patchy. The Indian Mynah, on the other hand, is in pest proportions and is generally hated by one and all. They compete unfairly with native species for nesting sites and food sources due to their larger numbers and aggressive behaviour. The Mynah is also a common pest in Melbourne but thankfully it has not become established in Adelaide.
Thank you and Andrea for your kind comments.
No doubt the strong winds the other night played a part in the death of the fledgling. It is very sad that so few survive to adulthood. I will keep a look out for another brood, but will have to try not to become too attached to the little family this time.
You are certainly correct, Trevor, feral cats are a big problem, but again, it is the totally irresponsible and uncaring owners who dump their unwanted cats and kittens, which are then left with no option but to fend for themselves and become wild. It is a tragic situation for the wildlife and for the cats.
Andrea, the ACT does in fact have compulsory desexing of cats, so they are actually leading the rest of Australia! The issue also appears to have huge public support in NSW. NSW is actually voting tomorrow at the local government level on the issue. We keep our fingers crossed that NSW will show leadership, along with the ACT, for the only humane solution to the enormous cat overpopulation problem.
It is good to hear that at least one state has done something about the cat problem, and that there is the potential for another state to follow suit. Here’s hoping the vote is positive.
Hello Trevor and Lisa,
Andrea from Canberra again. Thank you Lisa for the information on the ACT already having compulsory de-sexing of cats. I had no idea this was so. We will have to hope that NSW does follow suit soon.
Thank you Trevor for the information on the Indian Mynah in Sydney. I have heard that it is becoming a pest there and there unmistakable call everywhere you go there seems to confirm this!
I wonder if the Blackbird hasn’t really established in Sydney for climate reasons, (plus the dominance of the Indian Mynah there). Maybe this bird prefers a colder climate and/or drier summers with little humidity. This drier non-humid climate is to be found in Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide but not in sticky hot and humid Sydney. Personally, I wouldn’t blame the blackbird, because I absolutely hate humidity.
The blackbird pair in my mother’s Canberra garden continue to be seen on a regular basis, which is lovely. We have yet to see a nest though, but there must be one close by I guess.
Andrea from Canberra
Just wondering if you could please tell me if blueberries are an OK food for blackbirds. I have not put out any food for my resident pair of blackbirds before because they have been doing well on their own, but I believe the drought is making it difficult for them to find food, as they seem to be digging deep into the soil for food, which they haven’t done before. Could you please let me know whether blueberries would be OK if the blackbirds have never eaten blueberries before. Or is there some other more preferable food I could put out for them? Or is it not good for wild birds to become accustomed to being supplemented with food by humans?
Hi Lisa, Blackbirds are “omnivorous and mainly take ground dwelling invertebrates, especially earthworms, snails and insects; also seeds and fruit.” (HANZAB) There is no record I know of where they will eat blueberries but seeing they do eat fruit that should be all right.
Most experts would not recommend feeding wild birds as they then become dependent on that supply. If you go away for a holiday it could adversely affect them. If you still want to supply some food, how about having an open compost heap for garden scraps. This would attract insects and beetles and worms which in turn would attract the birds. The down side is that it could also attract mice and rats which in turn attract cats. You just have the weigh up all these pros and cons.
As for them foraging deeper than usual, this is quite normal. I suppose that the earthworms, beetles etc dig deeper during hot and dry conditions, so the Blackbirds need to do the same.
Your comments about climate influencing the spread of Blackbirds is interesting and one I hadn’t thought of. It is interesting to note that Blackbirds were first released into the wild in the Sydney Botanic Gardens in about 1860 and in Queensland in 1869 but they failed to become established. A total of 72 were imported to Melbourne in 1857 but whether they were released is not recorded.
The records in HANZAB are too detailed to mention here but it seems that they are widespread throughout SE Australia, including Tasmania and throughout New Zealand. Their range has been steadily expanding since those early introductions. The northward expansion continues and they had reached Inverell by the early 1980s and Toowoomba by 1995. A similar movement is occuring in South Australia. I remember first recording them in Peterborough (mid north) in the 1970s and they are now found some 100km further north in the Flinders Ranges. I grew up near Loxton in the 1950s and they were never seen then. They are now common in that area.
It will be interesting to see the progress west. They reached Ceduna in about 2000. Will they eventually make the crossing to WA where the habitat would suit them?
Thank you Trevor for the interesting history on the introduction of the blackbird into Australia and its advancement from Sydney. That is also interesting that the blackbird is to be found in Queensland, so maybe my climate theory about the blackbird not liking it in the warmer north of Australia may be wrong (although I think Toowoomba is drier and inland, or maybe has a bit of altitude to it maybe?)
I must say that growing up in Sydney as I did in the 1960s and 1970s, I don’t remember seeing or hearing blackbirds at all, which ties in with what Trevor has been saying about the blackbird being unsuccessful in Sydney. My strongest memory of childhood Sydney gardens is the soft cooing of the crested pigeon and the call of the Currawongs. I think that maybe the Indian Mynah was not well established in Sydney in those days, but I’m sure Trevor could enlighten us on when the Mynah was introduced into Australia. I remember travelling around Victoria in the 1980s and seeing flocks of Indian Mynahs on the roadside in various places there as well.
There were male blackbirds “singing their hearts out” in areas near my Queanbeyan (NSW) garden yesterday evening.
Andrea from Canberra
According to HANZAB the Indian Mynah was introduced around Innisfail, Ingham and Townsville, Queensland in 1883. Introduced to the Sydney and Melbourne areas in the 1860s or 1870s. Introduced to Canberra in 1968, Adelaide 1957, Auckland NZ c1895. They have not become established in Adelaide though there have been reports of some over the years.
The Mynah is widespread throughout Victoria, eastern NSW, SE Queensland and in patches as far north as near Cooktown. It is only present in the north island of NZ. Only once recorded in Perth and twice in Darwin. A few recent records from northern Tasmania indicate it may become established there.
Thank you Trevor for the history of the Mynah in Australia. If only our forebears knew what a nuisance species they were creating!? Much like the cane toad and other introduced species that have turned out to be a disaster?!
A happy weekend to all and may all our blackbird babies and blackbird adults and birds in general survive another week!
Andrea from Canberra
Thanks for that Andrea.
Some would say that the worst pest species introduced into our lovely land – is us!
Let’s not go down that track – I want to keep this blog as free of politics as possible.
[…] For example, on my birding blog, the most popular post was written six months ago in April of this year about nesting behaviour of Blackbirds. The nesting season is now in full swing here in Australia and it has recently created a new flurry of interest with many comments. […]
Today we rescued a little blackbird, who has fallen inbetween the outside and inside wall of our bungalow. We had to acctually make a hole into the outside wall in order to get the poor bugger out. However I’ve got no idea, how old it is, but it’s siblings, who live in our roof seem to be able to fly already. Our little one tried, but was unsucessful. I went and got some worms and snails and it seems to eat well… how much does it eat? What other things can I feed it? Will it learn how to fly by itself, once it is big/strong enough?
Hi there Tanja, welcome to my blog. Thanks for the kind words. You have certainly gone to a lot of trouble to rescue the poor little bird. Just keep doing what you are doing – he should be able to fly very soon then the parents can look after him. If they reject him or don’t come near, you will have to keep feeding him until he can fend for himself.
For a recipe for feeding baby Blackbirds go to this site:
You will find it at the bottom of that page.
Hope this helps.
[…] Common Blackbirds – the article that started it all. The many comments are very interesting reading. […]
Hello from Andrea from Canberra. I’ve been away for a few weeks – a sudden visit to hospital and further surgery needed in the new year and I haven’t seen the blog for about three weeks. Interesting with Tanja’s rescue of a blackbird by having to cut a hole in a wall. I hope the blackbird is doing well now. My mother continues to see a blackbird pair in her garden and I hear them singing at my place as well. Yes, the nesting season must be in full swing. I actually read in a local paper about a couple who were grateful to the Indian Mynahs for helping to keep the population of the scarub grubs in their lawn down. They said the Mynah was the only bird they had seen eating the grubs. So maybe there is a use for this introduced species.
Andrea from Canberra
Welcome back Andrea. Hope you are okay – and that all goes well for the coming operation. Good to hear that the blackbirds are doing okay. Their singing is so beautiful. Interesting comments about the Mynahs. It would have to be the only positive comment I’ve ever heard about them!
Trevor, My whole day has just disappeared- after dicovering your wonderful website. Such excellent information!
Black birds have established a nest in a potted ficus bush right outside my back door (St Peters)
Four chicks have just hatched.
My old dog has happily ignored the adult birds but now the babies are here, he keeps wanting to poke his nose into the bush and take a look. He does not harm them, just has a sniff then wanders off.
However, I am afraid that he will scare the chicks to death once they are more awake and alert.
It is impractical to keep my dog inside but I would love to give this family a chance.
Could I move the tree 4 metres along the verandah?
Then I could barracade the pot from the dog but the adults would still have free access.
Or would this be too traumatic for all?
Why did the darned birds establish their nest there anyway?
Any advice would be appreciated.Thank you.
What a dilemma! You must feel very privileged to have a family of blackbirds nest so close to the house.
But what to do?
My first inclination was to do nothing. If the blackbirds had remained on the nest all during the incubation stage they are not likely to abandon the young now they are hatched. If you go near the nest they will stay a safe distance and then return to feed when you move away some distance. The feeding instinct is very powerful.
Your dog is quite another matter. As the young grow they become more vocal, begging to be fed. (Somewhat similar to children everywhere actually.) Your dog’s natural curiosity may scare the young out of the nest before they are ready to fly and fend for themselves. This opens them to becoming separated from the parents and starving – or being taken by a cat, hawk, magpie etc.
I think your solution of moving the pot plant away a short distance and making a barrier is a good one. Can you do it gradually, say about half a metre every hour or so thus making the move gradual over a whole day?
It’s certainly worth a try. If the birds become too distressed at any time, stop and move right out of sight for a hour or so before attempting to move the plant again.
Good luck – and keep us informed.
Thank you Trevor- the move has slowly begun!
Could you please tell me how long before the chicks are actually looking like birds with their eyes open?
Once they are able to fly, do they all immediately fly away forever or do they return to the nest for naps?
When are they able to fly and be independent?
Our whole family has become interested in our feathered extended family!
I await the unfolding story of Megan’s blackbird nest and moving the potplant with interest. The only blackbirds I have ever seen are the adults and I have no idea where the local nests are. Interesting reading indeed! Good luck Megan. I hope your little family of blackbirds stay OK during the moving process.
Thank you Trevor for your well wishes re. hospital. Some things in life we have to face up to, don’t we. The black birds are a nice “distraction”.
Andrea from Canberra
Hi, I have been reading through all the comments on your site and I have found these stories very interesting. I myself found a nest that had been destroyed, the nest was on the top of a fence post quite low to the ground. In the nest I found 2 baby birds(which after all my searching assume to be blackbirds as I had seen the parents), I tried to replace the nest in a tree very close to where it had been but it would not stay in the tree due to being destroyed too much. I therefore had no choice but to bring the chicks into my home. I assumed that the chicks were not even 2 weeks old as they did not have any feathers. 1 chick did not make it, but I still have the other. It has now been just over a week and it seems to be doing very well. I am very surprised as to how fast they grow. The chick is now just starting to find its wings and is getting around suprisingly well. Now the big question, what do I do next? Helping to prepare to release it back outside. Will it adjust naturally or will there be things I have to do to help adjust or will it be too used to me. I hope that you can possible give me some hints.
Thanks – Kylie
Welcome back Andrea. Watching the comings and goings of birds certainly helps during the recuperation stage after operations. Various ailments have plagued us this year too. I discovered I have diabetes and that has taken many months to get under some semblance of control.
My wife has had two major operations on top of my woes. Without the birds in our garden life would be so much the poorer. As you say – they are a great distraction.
Hi there Kylie. Welcome to my blog. It is possible that the baby has already bonded to you, in which case you may have a friend for life! Wait until it is quite confident at flying and able to forage for its own food. Take it out in the garden and see what it does. Be careful to check for any lurking cats and keep an eye out for hovering hawks. If it is ready to cope with the big bad world out there it should fly off quite happily.
I hope it finds its own way as this is best for it in the long term. If it won’t search for its own food you may have to keep feeding it for some time.
Hi there again Megan,
How is the moving pot plant going? I hope the little ones didn’t suffer too much with the hot weather over the last two days.
Here are some answers to your questions:
1. The eyes of baby blackbirds are fully open in 6-7 days after hatching.
2. The feathers appear in the first few days and they are fully feathered in 9-12 days.
3. The young will leave the nest 13-15 days after hatching.
4. The adults will continue to feed the fledged young for quite some time, usually several weeks (and up to 25 days in one case). After that they are fully independent.
5. I could find no reference to the young returning to the nest once they have commenced flying.
Hope this all helps.
All very interesting developments in the blackbird world! Good luck to Kylie and the blackbird she now has in her care. I wouldn’t have a clue what to feed a baby blackbird. I don’t suppose they eat budgie seed?? Yes, we await with interesting the moving of the nest in the pot plant by Megan. I hope all goes well.
Sorry to hear about yours and your wife’s health woes, Trevor. I have a friend who is a Type One diabetic and it is certainly a juggling act to get that insulin right (if you are needing to take insulin). Good luck with it all. I recently had peritonitis of an unknown cause (it wasn’t my appendix) and that’s what put me in hospital. I need further medical investigation. Yes, the lovely blackbirds and my two lovely tame cockatiels are certainly a lovely distraction!
Andrea from Canberra
I am currently almost tearing my hair out with sheer utter disbelief at the comments on this site!!! Are any of these people aware that this ‘cutesy’ blabkbird is an ecological disaster to Australian birds and fauna? Frankly if my household find a nest, we kill the occupants without hesitation. These feral foreign bird species have literally driven out almost every native species in large parts of urban australia, here in melbourne i cannot even have one square cm of garden left un-netted like an impenetrable fortress if i wish to plant any herb/vege/flower! I find these feral birds extremely irritating and frustrating, having lived in a remote rural area in victoria where no ferals have yet migrated to because of the surrounding bush. It is a sad tragedy that people do not seem to realise what is at stake for this native landscape, with so much of our biodiversity already destroyed or seriously endangered, it is alarming (all that war on terror crap is nothing compared with environmental degradation caused by feral species) that people actually think some nuisance pest bird is some kind of sweet singing delight! Maybe it is in Europe, but not here in Australia! I shudder to think of the day when you cannot enjoy Australian rural areas without seeing hordes of aggressive mynas, starlings, blackbirds, sparrows etc ruining the country. Feeding and caring for those species is not a good idea at all, please do not be fooled into thinking they are benign birds, they are as serious a threat as any agricultural disease or global warming!!!!!!!!!!!
Tonight I have just found a baby female blackbird that one of our cats has been playing with. Seems unharmed, but not able to fly. Has wings, and some feathers but still some unfeathered patches. Seems very calm & ok, I have put her in a cage with soft woollen scarves and made it dark, and have been feeding her minced roo meat and water from a dropper. My dilemma is how to locate the parents – I can’t leave her outside for them to hear her calling for food as we have cats and one of them especially may kill her. Any ideas on what to do here? If I cannot find the nest & parents, is there anyone in Melbourne who especially rears baby blackbirds? I am so busy, I cannot feed her so regularly as I think she needs.
Thankyou in advance for your help, I am distraught that she has been seperated from her parents.
Agreed that there are many introduced species to Australia that have become a big pest, e.g. the cane toad and the prickly pear disaster of the 1930s, feral cats etc. I didn’t know that the blackbird had become a pest in this country. I was only aware of the Indian mynah and starlings. However, I hope that you understand that some people may love their song and I am daring to admit here that I actually grow daffodils and have exotic trees in my cold climate garden. I hope you don’t mind that and you feel that all Australian gardens should only contain native plants. I believe in a blend of both. Sometimes I think that the “native purists” (not saying you are one of those Melissa mind you) can go a bit too far.
Andrea from Canberra
I don’t have an overwhelmingly negative issue with non-invasive exotic plants, i myself have vegetables and flowers trees in my garden which are not native, although i do make an effort to plant more indigenous grasses etc. I am simply very firm in the belief that despite blackbirds presumably being as yet declared a pest (and i am not sure about the status) they appear to be set to follow in the same pattern as other ferals. I do observe these similar species having a detrimental effect, i don not think we should wait for the government (of all people!) to make a statement on the environmental impact of every thing, when i can see for myself the changes that have occurred regarding native birds. This is one issue i am very pasionate about as i think that birds are a key indicator of the future of biodiversity.
Have been searching for days for information re a pair of Blackbirds in my garden who are apparently having a second hatching of chicks in the same nest in one season .The nest is just outside my bathroom window so can see quite a bit of activity and also their forays in my garden for worms,snails etc. I followed the first broods progress to being fledglings following the female ,which she cautiously hid under shrubs etc to feed them. Then no activity for a while and suddenly apparently new chicks demanding to be fed in the same nest. Seems to be the same male as he has a deformed foot.Is this possible??? Great Blog!!Best information I have found in all my Websiting.Libby
Hi there Libby. Welcome to my blog and thanks for the kind and encouraging comments.
It is delightful to have wild birds so close to one’s house. We get a great deal of pleasure out of the passing parade of birds going about their lives in our garden, many of them featured on this site.
As for the male Blackbird with a deformed foot, I have observed this to be quite common in the bird world. I have seen this in a wide range of species and they seem to cope very well. At one time we even had a resident magpie with only half a beak. We called him “Beaky” and he coped very well for quite a few years.
Melissa’s comments above (#54) cannot go unchallenged. While I agree with most of her views, using emotional statements like “ecological disaster” when referring to Blackbirds in Australia is just not correct. The term should be applied to ALL invasive species.
The true situation is far worse that the picture she paints, but using emotive language to convince people to go out and kill these birds will win no friends. What is needed is hard evidence to confront the Australian public of the seriousness of these invading species.
I consider the threat to our environment caused by Blackbirds to be less than point zero zero one of one per cent of the problem. Eliminating one nest from one garden will do little good. Even if everyone did this the problem is not eliminated. Other invading species will just move in and use the food sources, nesting material etc not used by the Blackbirds.
The following list of invading species is not complete, but each of the following poses a far greater risk to our native species than the Common Blackbird:
Common Starling, Indian Mynah, House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon, Cane Toad, Feral Cat, Red Fox, European Rabbit, Black Rat, Brown Rat, Feral Goat, Feral Pig, House Mouse, Feral Camel …. the list goes on. At least 25 species of mammals, 20 species of birds, 23 species of fishes.
And I haven’t even started on the plants!!
Melissa complains that she finds it hard to grow anything in her garden because of the Blackbirds. She has thus highlighted probably the greatest threat of all to the Australian environment: exotic plants and human activity. Many Australians want our native species of birds to thrive, but they also want their rose and herb gardens, their fruit trees and their vegie patches. And we want to buy Australian produced food from the supermarket. All forms of agriculture have devastated the landscape. Humans, including the Aborigines, have changed the Australian environment forever; this cannot be reversed.
I would like to thank Melissa for her comments, for they have prompted me to write a series of articles about invasive species, especially birds, on this blog. They should start to appear late January and February 2007 (check the archives).
Just a further comment on Melissa’s comments above (#54). I tried to send her an email responding to her comments privately. My email bounced. This means she invented a false email address when commenting on my blog.
I find this somewhat offensive. If you wish to comment, at least have the decency to give an accurate email address so that the dialogue can continue. Your email address is NOT published on this blog, so you will only ever receive emails from me, and certainly not receive spam etc.
On the downside, it has made me more cautious about approving comments in the future.
Some further comments for Libby:
Yes – very possible for the same nest to be reused.
HANZAB (Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds) states that second hatchings from the same nest are relatively common, and three consecutive hatchings from the same nest occur sometimes. Pairs may nest up to five times in one breeding season.
Not all are successful, for a variety of reasons (eg predation, lack of food, death of adult, adverse weather, storms etc)
See also my article “Why do baby birds disappear?” here:
I have just spent the morning watching one of the strangest sights I have ever seen.
I live at Queanbeyan (near the racecourse) with three cats. They are happy to stalk the sparrows and mynahs – and I let them – but for some reason Crested Pidgeons and Blackbirds are not of great interest.
This morning there was a great cacophony of bird alarms, so I went out to check. There was a baby blackbird in a tree with the ‘outside’ cat looking up at it. The baby came down to ground level (the blackbirds all like to eat the dry cat food) and of course the cat pounced.
I raced out with my trust water pistol in time to see the cat take the baby by a leg out into the driveway where the parents were twittering and put it on the ground. As it did so it looked up as if to say “Will you all just shut up!” and then walked away back to his favourite morning sleeping spot.
Mum and Dad both came down and chivvied the baby back to the food bowl and shoved a few bits of cat food down its gob, and then back to the nest. Doing this meant that they had to walk past the cat! Yet, peace returned to the neighbourhood.
In regards to cats – I get annoyed when they are all branded as murderers and cold-hearted killers. They are basically doing what a shark in the ocean does, and what any other predator does. However, I also believe that cat-owners have a responsibility to try and create a balanced environment. My cats are collared, which includes 4 bells plus a leap alarm. They are locked in sundown in winter, and 7pm in summer. They are let out at 8.30am, and invariably come back in around 9.30, and spent most of the day on my bed. If I am not home, they are not outside.
Anyway – I enjoy my birds, blue-tongues, cats and possums and there is not a lot of drama in their co-existence. Maybe I’m just lucky.
As for Melissa – can I assume that she is a Breatharian? What we generally eat for meat are introduced species. What we eat for vegetables are introduced species. Man is the biggest cause of ecological problems – the animals and plants are doing what comes naturally.
What a bizarre event – pity you didn’t have a video camera running. Thanks for your comments.
Thanks Trevor for the information re multilpe nestings. I can now enjoy my new “babies” and hope to catch a glimpse of the first hatching to reassure me that they have not met their demise! Libby
Happy New Year to all. I am wondering if blackbirds migrate to cooler parts of Australia, or even New Zealand, during the summer months. I haven’t heard or seen any blackbirds for at least a month now. This is my mother’s Canberra garden I am talking about. I think the last time we spotted any blackbirds in her garden was around late November. I am guessing that they may find it too hot in some parts of Australia at this time of the year and may migrate to the cooler mountain areas. We hope they will re-appear when the cooler weather arrives. I seem to remember it was the middle or winter last year, around July, when they re-appeared in Mum’s garden again. At the moment, the garden is full of the Indian Mynans and not much else.
Andrea from Canberra
Hi there Andrea.
There is no evidence in the research to suggest that Blackbirds migrate. They are considered to be largely sedentary. Having said that, there is some evidence that they can disperse short distances after breeding. This is usually the young looking for new territories.
In our own garden they become very quiet during the summer and autumn months and are often not very visible, preferring to skulk in the shade of the lower thicker bushes looking for food. So in your situation, they are quite likely there but not showing themselves or calling.
Dear Trevor, I am writting on behalf of my 6 year old daughter, who has discovered an interest in birds. She discovered a nest of the common blackbird in our passionfruit vine, next to our car in the car port at eye level( hers). she was able to discover three eggs, see them hatch, and learn to fly!! It has opened a world of birds to us, I even had to look up that it was a common black bird. Thanks for your sight, we will checkit often.
regards, Cassie on behalf of Alycia ( 6 years old)
P.s we live in Moe, Victoria
That’s really exciting, Cassie. It is always great when young children catch an enthusiasm for birds and the natural environment at an early age. Keep on encouraging Alycia. Does she use the internet? She may be interested in looking at the photos I have on my blog, and as her reading improves she will learn plenty from my articles.
Before I retired from teaching I was always encouraging the children in my class to look at the birds (and the environement in general). Only this week I found out that one of my former students is studying to be a marine biologist. That’s exciting!
I must write a series of articles for children about becoming a bird watcher. In the meantime, look at the ‘Contents’ section called ‘How to be a birder.’
We have had a very tame male blackbird in our garden now for over 5 years, every year we watch him courting the females, they even nested once on our bathroom window. He always introduces his offspring to us at a stage when they can fend for themselves.
We notice when he is feeding because he starts to look really rundown and old.
He often peeks in at us from the kitchen window. We have named him Charlie.
Hi there Maxine. It is a real delight to have regular birds in your garden and around the house that you can identify as being the same bird. We have a number of birds that fit that category, including the Blackbirds, the Willie Wagtails and the Magpies. The Magpie Larks (Pee Wees) tend to live next door bcause they have a lawn where we only have native grass. They still come to visit nearly every day. We also have many other species that I regard as resident in our garden – about 35 different species. In addition we have about another 70 species that are occasional visitors, or which only come at certain times of the year.
Hi, i have always been interested in Blackbirds. I have an avery of four that i rescued from a vonerable nest. There were four eggs in the nest but one had obviously been cracked open and eaten. This shows that the other eggs were in danger too. I have three females and 1 what looks to be a male. But i am not sure until i get a bit closer. I feed them on Fresh fruit, Wild Bird Seed, Bread Crumbs and soon i will start them on worms too. They are very timid and are not shy to fly to the front of the avery and cling to the mesh staring at me, Waiting for me to feed and water them. At night i cover the avery with an old blanket not only to keep them warm, but to help them sleep better.
Hi there Jay, welcome to my blog about birds. It is obvious that these birds give you a great deal of pleasure and that you know how to look after them.
Andrea from Canberra.
Hi Trevor and bird lovers. I noticed the sound of the blackbirds in the garden just recently. It had been months since I had heard the blackbirds. Like Trevor advised, they go very quiet over summer and the warmer months. I thought they must migrate to cooler areas of the summer. I heard the “chip chip” call (almost like a warning call) of a blackbird the other day. I have yet to hear the beautiful song of the male, often heard in the evening and early mornings, but I assume this may not happen until they start to nest again in Spring. I have recently made a native section in my garden and look forward to attracting even more bird species into the gaden, as these natives start to grow.
Welcome back Andrea.
Good to hear that the Blackbirds are still around. “Our” blackbirds are still skulking around the garden but are still not calling. I expect that they will start singing again in a few weeks time.
All the best with the native plants. You may benefit from a visit to my wife’s blog about native plants here:
The blackbirds are back with a vengeance in our garden. I hear the lovely song of the male every morning around 6am. I have seen a male and female pair scavanging in the garden. They made themselves known again in July some time I think. It is lovely to have this “constant” in the garden, after the devastating death of one of my pet female cockatiels last week from egg-binding! Even my remaining pet cockatiel looks very interested when she sees the blackbirds scurrying around the courtyard of the house and as we all know, the male’s beautiful song is so cheery!
Andrea from Canberra
Welcome back Andrea.
And a big welcome back to the singing Blackbirds. We’ve heard them a few times but not on a daily basis yet.
Helppppp!!We have a Huggggggge problem with Blackbirds in our garden, flicking our mulch all over the place, it’s driving us crazy, do you know where we could get one of those electronic things to scare them off, or anything else that would work in getting rid of them??
Hi there Mary.
This is a perplexing problem facing many gardeners.
In response to your questions, I have written an entirely new article about this problem.
Read the article here:
[…] Common Blackbirds – the most popular article with the most comments […]
We have a blackbird nest under our deck in the rafters.It has 4 eggs in it. We have seen a male bird on the eggs. Is this possible? Also, after spying nest a lot, we have not seen another blackbird on the nest since. The eggs are still warm each time. Will the eggs hatch? Our son, who is 11, is most interested and will not leave them alone. Will the eggs be ok if he has touched them?
Hi there Anna,
It is unusual for the male to incubate the eggs. This is usually done exclusively by the female. If the female is dead (eg taken by a cat or a hawk) the male may take over the brooding. I would suggest that this has happened, and although unusual has been known to happen. I am reasonably confident that the eggs will hatch, providing that the bird is not disturbed too much. Try to observe from a distance and try not to frighten the bird from the nest. If this happens too much he may not return to the nest.
There is no problem with touching the eggs but again, try to keep a distance and not disturb the nest or the bird sitting. When the eggs hatch, the male becomes active in feeding the babies. The female will then sometimes start a second nest before the babies from the first nest fledge (fly off).
about a 3 week old Myna has fallen out of its nest what should
i do and what should i feed it also the nest has fallen apart and the mother won’t come back.
Hi there Sophie,
If the mother won’t come back to the baby she has abandoned it and in normal conditions the baby would die. This seems cruel and nasty but it is the way of birds and animals in the wild. The mother is more concerned about her survival. She will probably nest again when the conditions are right.
If you are determined to save the baby just keep in mind two important things:
1. Baby birds take a great deal of time and effort to keep well fed. They will need feeding every hour or more often. Do you have the energy and time that is needed?
2. The Common Myna is regarded as an undesirable introduced pest species in Australia. They are not welcome here because they take food and nesting places from our native birds.
i have a blackbird nest under our verandah up against the wall in some creepers. i think we have scared away the parents because i haven’t seem them for a while. meanwhile, they have left three chicks in the nest, with only one surviving i think. i have taken the last one inside with the aim of trying to feed it. advice anyone? i dont now what to feed, how to clean, and most of all how to explain it to my parents! :p
Hi there Ben,
I would suggest that you replace the little one in nest. The parent birds know what is best to feed them. Try to keep a good distance from the nest and not check to see how it is going as this will only scare the adults away.
the other two are ovverrun with ants and im sure thatll happen with this one two
I live in a country town 30 k’s from Launceston in Tasmania.
Blackbirds have been common in my garden for many years and over the last couple of weeks I have been watching 4 blackbird chicks nesting in a large bush outside my bedroom window and have been intrigued how they continued to fit in the nest, how large their mouths had become and the constant rountine by their parents to nurture the babies.
Unfortunatley on Friday night around midnightI was woken to a commotion outside the window and on investigation found one of the babies on the ground which I replaced in the nest, the mother had not slept with the chicks for the last few days which I suspected was due to lack of space and perhaps the heat. In the light of day 1 baby was missing from the nest and I was unable to determine what caused the disturbance. The remaining 3 babies were nurtured normally by the parents yesterday (Saturday), but I decided to leave the outside light on all night just in case. The only explanation I could think of was maybe a cat or ???rat (unlikely but I am clutching at straws). Anyway I heard something around 3am and lifted the blind and shone torch into nest which was empty. There was nothing on the ground, no feathers, no trace. I was still awake at day break, around 5am and there was no sign of the parent birds. I feel quite sad at the loss of the babies, especially as I have no idea what happened to them. Yesterday their eyes were open, they were feathered but still had a few bare patches. I came across your blog in an attempt to find an answer/s and have been comforted by the attachment other people make with their resident blackbirds!
I realise it is nature etc but I remember thinking how clever the female blackbird was in choosing such a safe spot, close to the bedroom window for the nest and convinced myself all 4 babies would survive. Thank you Trevor for all the great info.
I’ve just been reading through the comments and suggestion with much interest.
On the 8th of December I found a young female blackbird on a ledge in the barn where I keep my horse. The nest was on the ground and upturned. Originally there were 3, but I suspect that the barn cats might have had something to do with their sudden departure.
The parents were nowhere in sight and we feared that the cats would kill her if she was left there. We bought her home and assumed that she would be dead by morning as she was so young.
She proved us wrong and grew into a very healthy bird. She was very happy on a diet of worms, beef cat food and a mixture we picked up from the vets. She soon became very frustrated at being contained in an outside cat cage so when she learned how to eat by herself we reluctantly let her go.
Several times that day she returned to be fed but then she flew off and we assumed we wouldn’t see her again. Not so, after a week and a half my sister found her outside, infact she hopped onto her hand. She was slightly injured and we have been feeding her.
My dilemma is she is very tame and we are reluctant to let her go if she is well enough. She has no fear of cats or people and we fear that she could be hurt again. We are not sure whether her wing will heal as it is slightly drooping but she is well enough what do you suggest?
Hi there Colleen, thanks for visiting my birding blog and for leaving a comment.
It certainly is sad when birds and animals are killed, but as you say, that is the way of nature.
Have you considered that an owl or even a Tawny Frogmouth may have been responsible? Even ravens and currawongs are known nest robbers, so the field of possibilities is quite large.
Hi there Chelsea,
Welcome to my birding blog.
I am not at all experienced in caring for injured birds. It might be worth contacting your local wildlife care group (see the yellow pages or search the internet) for advice.
Keeping the bird in the cage until the wing has recovered might be your only option if there is no one willing to help or you can’t find the help you need.
Sorry I can’t be of more help.
At my home in Bridgewater i have been watching with interest as a female blackbird has made my clothes-peg-basket her home. Some months ago she made her impressively symmetrical nest there, laid 4 eggs, sat there protectively for a few weeks then flying between the nest and my garden to forage and feed the chicks. Shortly after the family left the nest, she repeated the whole process again with another two eggs and chicks…..on the extremely hot over-40 degree days they let me spray them gently with a water sprayer. (I was concerned because they were about a foot under my galv iron verandah.) Incredibly after leaving the nest on new years day, I saw her in the nest on the 4th Jan and today – the 9th – two more eggs! My family were fascinated on Christmas Day to watch her foraging and feeding the chicks….to and fro all afternoon. Also the male partner is sometimes around – he doesn’t go to the nest but seems to forage showing the hen where to get the worms. Fantastic.
We have had a blackbirds nesting in our Ivy hedge for nearly 2 years now and since late winter 2007 they’ve produced 3 sets of eggs. Unfortunately after the 2nd lot hatched one of our Italian Greyhounds caught and killed one of the young when it was running around our backyard learning to fly (IGs are renowned for catching small animals). The 3rd batch (2 eggs) have now hatched – although I had to re-invent their nest because it fell to bits and I found the helpless newborns on the ground beneath the hedge. I built a new one out of a small box, lined it with an old cotton hand-towel and attached it above the old nest with cable-ties. I didn’t see the first baby around much (possibly caught by our new neigbours cat urrgh!!) but the 2nd hatchling is now running around the yard. Despite the chick having many places to hide I am keeping the dogs inside for now (I am on holidays) and escorting them on a leash outside for toileting. What I need to know is how long it takes the chicks to learn to fly – so I can then safely leave the dogs to their own devices. Any infor would be appreciated : )
Anne – thank you for visiting my blog about birds. It certainly is fascinating watching the development of the young birds in a nest, and then to watch the parents busily going about feeding them.
Interestingly, Blackbirds have been known to raise up to six clutches of babies in the one season.
Hi there Dene,
Thank you for your comments about Blackbirds. Three clutches of eggs in a season is quite normal – they have been recorded raising up to six clutches in one season!
The eggs generally hatch in 12 – 14 days after the last egg is laid. The babies then fledge (fly from the nest) in 13 – 15 days on average. The young usually leave the nest on the same day – sometimes over 2 days.
Thanks Trevor, I forgot to mention we are in South Canberra. I have blocked off the side of the house where the dog door is so the dogs can stay out of the yard for a a couple of weeks (unless supervised by moi). I watched a baby run around the perimeter of our yard this morning and took a video. So cute but so VULNERABLE. I hope no Kurrawongs decide to fly in, doesnt happen often. We have Magpies, Pee Wees, Native Pidgeons and an array of Parrots that stop in regularly for a nibble at our feeding station in the tree. I’ve also sprayed cat repellent along the fenceline for next door but only Buddah knows if this will work.
Hi Trevor, I came across your website while researching the spread of the European Blackbird.
We have a breeding pair in our garden in St George, Queensland. As much of this area has been in drought for a number of years, we were surprised to see them this far west. Having lived in the area for only eight months I have no idea when they arrived, I imagine that the pair came along the Condamine/Balonne river in the one of the major floods from Toowomba area. It would be interesting to hear from other readers as to how far the blackbirds have reached.
Hi there Dorothy,
This seems to be quite a western extension of this species in Queensland. According to the current distribution maps on the Birds Australia Bird data Atlas, there have been records in the Moree and Tenterfield areas of NSW and at Oakey nearer to Brisbane.
I will make an enquiry on the Birding-Aus news group and see what is the current status of this species in Queensland.
Hi Trevor & Dorothy
Coincidentally, they are currently the subject of a public awareness campaign in southern Qld being led by TBO with support from DPI&F, EPA and Toowoomba City Council. This is due to their introduced status and valid concerns about their potential threat to our horticultural industries if we don’t take appropriate steps to contain them.
I will post an update to Birding-Aus re Qld status of blackbirds in the near future but in the meantime you’ll find from our club website and a dedicated topic on the forum that blackbirds have been confirmed in a few different areas in Toowoomba & Highfields district and recently in Stanthorpe & Dalveen region. Just the odd population here and there, but evidently breeding at each location.
The St George record is significant – the first report from there and, as you say, a long way west of the nearest known population.
I’d be grateful Dorothy if you could fill in the online blackbird report at http://www.toowoombabirdobservers.org or contact me at work on (07) 4688 1318. If possible a photo of the birds and/or the nest would be helpful in confirming the record too.
Blackbird Project Leader
Toowoomba Bird Observers Inc
Thanks for all that information Michael.
i have come home today to find the remains of blackbirds chicks in my garden, i have watched them from when they were eggs to chicks so i was very upset when i came home to find a crow in my garden eating all of the dried worms i had put out intentionally for the blackbird. did i attract the predators? i feel awful the mother blackbird came back flew into nest and realised her chicks had been killed and flew away. There is now a robin who has now been using her nest i have not seen eggs in there yet. My question is will the blackbird return.
Blackbirds are very territorial, I am sure they will stay in the area. Our St George (Qld) pair have been very persistant in trying to raise a family this summer, but cats, a resident breeding pair of crows (whose conversations with each other are wonderful to listen to – they sound quite caring towards each other at times), not to mention butcher birds and currajongs have put paid to any success.
The pair are still around digging up the mulch, I will not be planting any bulbs for spring(G)
Thanks for visiting Charlene, and for answering the question Dorothy.
Crows and ravens are very clever and cunning and would possibly have discovered the chicks anyway. This is the natural cycle of life in the wild; one species’ loss is another species’ gain. That’s tough from a humanitarian point of view, but their survival depends on eating – often that means the young of another species will be the victim. It happens more than we would like to know.
THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY it is what you say ‘the circle of life’ but its not nice when it Happens in your garden. i hope they will return and nest agin next year.
i have a breeding pair nesting in my garden hedge and for a day or two i noticed that she wasnt coming, is this normal?
where do baby blackbirds go when they are not in there nest.Or when someone has touched them when they are newly hatched.
the other day my mates mother touched a baby blackbird on the head and now the blackbirds have dissapeared.why have thay gone?also i found that the nest was tillted on its side!is this normal?
there has been 5 litle cluchings in my garden bush and she has not been sitting on them for 2 days. what will happen, will she come back or leave them there to die. i really want to help them but i think its to late. can they die in there shell?
Hi there Natalie, welcome to my birding blog. Sorry for the delay in replying – I’ve been very busy, and also away for a few days.
Baby birds are often taken by predators. This can include other birds like hawks, owls, magpies and crows (as well as many other species) or by cats or even snakes and lizards, depending on where you live. This is part of the web of life – one bird’s death means the survival of another creature.
If a person has gone to the nest with babies in it, this can accidentally show predators (like a cat) where the nest is hidden. Observe nests from a distance is good advice.
Hi there Chris,
Welcome to my blog about Australian birds.
I have already answered your questions in my reply to Natalie above.
Hi there Amber. Sorry about the delay in answering your comments.
The parent birds will abandon a nest for a variety of reasons. If they’ve left the eggs for two days it is unlikely that they will return. Don’t worry – Blackbirds (and many other species) often nest 2, 3 or even more times every year. Many of the young are taken by hawks and other predators so that they too can survive.
I found your site interesting. I live in north Canberra and noticed a blackbird building a nest in the top of a Dixonia Antarctica fern in my small enclosed courtyard under a big umbrella. I was concerned about her absence after laying one egg, beautifully camouflaged in green with a brown base, but she’s back. My neighbour tells me she will come and go until the last egg is laid and then she will stay for them to all hatch together. I hope the location will prevent the local cats and other birds from finding the nest. Males have been digging up my garden for a few years – don’t know if they’re related. I can observe the process, which I do a lot, from the kitchen window.
Welcome to my birding blog, Joan. Your neighbour is correct – the female will commence sitting when the last egg is in the nest. You will have a great view of the comings and goings once the eggs hatch. Enjoy your new ‘family.’
I have been listening to Blackbirds at Seacliff for a few years now and Im amazed at their musical ability .They never seem to repeat themselves in their short phrases–and they have their own individuality as well—has anyone else listened closely?if so ,you will be enthralled with their inventiveness;like listening to Charlie Parker at his best
Welcome to my birding blog, Robin. I agree with you – the musical quality of the song is something amazing. Almost outdoes some of our native birds – like the Grey Shrike Thrush or the amazing Pied Butcherbird.
I am very fond of our blackbirds in Bundoora, Melbourne. In fact we had a male blackbird who was very friendly over a period of five years. I called him ‘chook’ and would feed him worms I came across while weeding. This progressed to bread everyday and finally pieces of meat and chopped up cherry. He would come to the back door and wait for me everyday. He even came in the back door if left open and would sit on the step. He was not afraid and seemed to know I would not hurt him. Eventually he brought his two daughters to me to get food when they were very young ‘fluff-balls’. At this time he had a broken leg and would just hop around on the one leg. I guess he knew him would not last long and was trying to familiarize his siblings with my feeding service. He did not come back one day and I gather he died somewhere, but his babies still returned each day on a regular basis for feeding. They are still with me today and one has found a mate, nested and currently has her own baby birds that she is busy feeding. I provide chopped up sausage and bread for them and they take it straight back to the nest. It appears that they know when they are welcome and are not timid to come write up to you and hop around your feet if you stay still. I often sit outside with a cup of tea and they hang around me and just sit and look at me like they are trying to communicate telepathically. They are lovely birds and can be virtually tamed if you do the write thing by them. I am looking forward to the new family coming down to meet me very soon and the cycle repeating itself all over again.
Thanks for stopping by Greg, and for leaving your comments. Your experience with things ‘wild’ birds must be very satisfying and heartwarming to you. It just proves that humans can have effective and positive relationships with free creatures and live in harmony with them.
Some people will criticize you because they regard the Blackbird as a pest species. Others may not agree with your methods. I say ignore them – and listen to your heart.
Enjoy your special friends.
Have you gone on an Earth Walk? We had this activity when we were in college. We just toured around the campus and observe the flora and fauna present. It was a cool activity. Your post reminds me of those days. I find observing trees and animals around my neighborhood delightful. It is worth your time.
welcome to my birding blog Pierre. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
No – I haven’t been on an Earth Walk, but I encourage everyone who reads this to go on walks in the natural environment whenever they can – organised or just as the mood takes you. Walking with nature is a fantastic way of dealing with the stresses of life and the world in general. I find great inspiration for my writing when I’m in the natural environment.
Not only do you get to see great plants, flowers, birds and animals (eg lizards), not only do you get plenty of fresh air, not only do you shed the stresses of life – you also get very beneficial exercise.
I used to do walks like the one you describe with the children in my class when I was a teacher. So enjoyable – and a great way of learning in a fun way.
Now it is usually just my wife and me – and that’s enjoyable too.
I’ve just read right back to 2006 and found the answer to my query…that is, there’s not much to be done. I do realise that this sort of culling means that only the fittest survive, the the babies of the birds who pick the most protected nesting site, sheltered garden and so on, but the devotion of the parents is hard to reconcile with the enormity of the loss. The other day I came home to find a huge magpie attacking the nest, and the parents were shrieking and flapping at him. I disturbed him but they chased him for at least 2 or 3 minutes, swooping and diving the whole time. I think he took one of the babies as I can now find only one. The parents spend all day foraging and feeding this little bird. Can you answer two more questions for me? Do the parents mate for life, the season, or for one time only? Also, what is the average time for a nestling to spend on the ground after leaving the nest? Many thanks.
Hi there Pauline,
The only reference I can find states that Blackbirds here in Australia are only occasionally polygamous. There is only one example of this so one can assume that they are usually monogamous ie staying together as a pair. The article does not say whether they mate for life.
Fledgelings usually leave the nest 12 -15 days after hatching. Some are able to fly weakly while others can barely fly at all. There seem to be no records of how long a they spend on the ground after leaving the nest.
I hope this helps.
Hullo Trevor – an update from Canberra – three eggs were laid but only one hatched. One egg was crushed, I assume by the parent/s, and dropped out of the nest and one never hatched. The nest is no more than 1m off the ground in a tiny four walled courtyard under a big umbrella – an ideal secure place. I have been fascinated watching the one chick grow rapidly and touched by the parents dedication to the chick, sitting directly on top of it and regularly feeding it rather large wriggly worms. Only a few more days to go before it will be able to fly. Unfortunately I was shocked and surprised that the chick was disemboweled and left on the ground by its attacker which I assume was a bird unable to lift the large chick and at the same time gain momentum to fly out of such a tight space. I hear you say it’s what comes naturally, however my almost obsessive observations of the whole wonderful process leaves me feeling down. I suppose a large bird saw the blackbirds flying in and out. After about 6 weeks of building the nest, laying the eggs, sitting on them, feeding the only chick – it’s a terrible result for the parents. Over and out.
Unfortunately there are predators who watch every movement carefully for signs of eggs or young in the nest. It could have been a currawong, raven, magpie, butcherbird among many others. Sorry to hear of your sadness. On a brighter note, Blackbirds will often have two or three clutches in the one breeding season, so there is hope… keep your eyes peeled for more nesting activity.
A pair of blackbirds made a nest on the fence under our carport (Hawthorn, South Aust)and even though the nest is on the top rail at chest height and close to where we come and go, the mother bird largely ignored us. I photographed daily from eggs to fledgelings without any problem. About a week or two after the nest was abandoned we saw mother bird (the same one?) had laid three more eggs. Now we have hatchlings again and I am busy photographing – I wait until the mother or father leaves the nest and grab a few shots before they come back. A blackbird nest in the front yard lost its only, large chick to a magpie. Obviously the carport is better.
Thank you Tony for your uplifting story. I had to remove the nest because it was inside a Dixonia Antarctica fern which has many fronds coming out and was pushing the nest out of position. I also took photos daily and have just now put together a record in a small album.
Welcome to my blog Tony. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your story. As you can see by reading all of the comments, there are many others like yourself who really enjoy seeing our birds nesting in their gardens.
What wonderful stories (yes I read all of them!).
We have had a family of black birds nesting in our roof for years now but the other night we noticed that one of the baby birds had fallen down the roof cavity (we have raked ceilings, but about 4m away from the nest it drops down to a normal height in the roof which is where the bird was). So on the 3rd day we couldn’t take the cries for help any more and have just cut a hole in the wall to rescue the poor thing. Well what a surprise we got when we looked in the hole as there was not one, but two of the poor things stuck in a tiny gap above the door frame (I guessed the spot right on target to cut the hole). So now we have two little birds talking to each other (non stop)in a nest we have made for them in our kitchen. As a child I raised many small birds which had fallen out of nests but have lost the “what to do” (I remember feeding them weetbix with a little bit of pentavite mixed in). I am currently feeding them worms but was wondering what else they can have and how often I should feed them? They have most of their feathers so I assume that they will be trying to fly soon, so what will be the best way to release them (we have cats that I’m sure would love them for dinner, so I am reluctant to let them go in our garden).
Hi there Nerissa – thanks for stopping by and leaving a few comments.
The things some people do to rescue stranded animals! I hope that the hole in the wall can be easily repaired.
I have no experience in looking after orphaned birds. What you are doing sounds okay – see if you can find some beetles and caterpillars as well. Maybe a spider or two and even chopped up fruit.
Keep the cats inside when you release them is my suggestion. They should soon fly off.
I’ve really enjoyed reading all the comments. I live in Hallett Cove in SA and have always loved watching the wonderful commotion of the blackbirds building their nests in the most unusual places around our home and garden. I have a front courtyard which I can see from my computer area and delight in watching mum and dad blackbirds getting their nest ready and then seeing mum up there waiting and then feeding the little ones. This season they have chosen to nest in a silk plant hanging basket which is right in the middle up high in the courtyard. I managed to get a couple of photos of mum sitting in there but could only see a couple of tiny yellow mouths open for food. This was only a few weeks ago and just recently I’ve noticed they are building again in the same place – would the little ones have grown and flown so soon? anyway today as I was writing I noticed not one but two magpies on the basket pulling at the soft mulch. I raced out to shoo them away but was too late and saw a broken beautiful pale blue egg on the glass table beneath the nest. I was so upset and wonder if there are any other eggs still in the nest. I daren’t get up to look or even to straighten the basket as I feel the parents won’t come back if they see human intervention.
I’ve noticed that when mum sits on the nest the dad is often away, probably getting food. But when she’s away he sits on the wall and sings. Is he letting her know where to come back to? I love the songs they sing, to me it’s the sweetest call in nature.
I hear people saying that they are introduced…weren’t we all at some stage?!
Thanks for the site….lovely to hear these stories.
Nature is all around us to enjoy, so long as we take the time to notice.
Welcome to my bird blog Jane. Hallett Cove is a lovely place to live. It’s great that you appreciate the bird life in your garden – that’s one of the aims of this blog – to help people appreciate our lovely birds.
Blackbirds will nest two or three time a year – sometimes even four times. The little ones leave the nest only a few weeks after hatching.
Don’t get too upset with the magpies. They are trying to survive too. They will take the nesting material of other species so that they can have a nice nest for their young. They will also take eggs and young from the nests of other species: this seems harsh to us but that is the way of nature.
I also love to hear the song of the Blackbird. The real reason for any bird song is less romantic than humans like to think. In most cases, the bird is saying: “Keep out! This is MY territory. Everyone else – buzz off.” Or words to that effect – probably with a few nasty words thrown in for good measure.
Common Blackbirds are a known introduced pest, I discard their nests.
Hi from New Zealand, how wonderful to find others (mostly) who love Blackbirds. My resident female recently made her 5th nest of the season. She usually nests in one of three big native trees on the property which I rent but they were felled three weeks ago (unbelievably bad timing but then the person who arranged for them to be felled them also thinks that leaving cats outside all night is ok). I used to put a tangle of wire netting with sharp bits facing outwards around the lower trunk of the trees to stop cats climbing up to the nest. She had a nest with 3 eggs in one of trees that was felled and I couldn’t relocate it as the house was being painted and maintenance work on the fences being done, and there were people everywhere. She was such a stressed bird for 2 days, it was heartbreaking. She could not understand the disappearance of the nest and the tree. Anyway she has attempted three more nests but abandoned them before laying eggs due to the sites being unsuitable and cat disturbance. She is now nesting in a small tree outside my bedroom window and although it means I get woken early and sometimes have to get up in the night when I hear her alarm calls if there is a cat around, I’m hoping she and Mr BB will be successful with this sitting. He is a wonderful male and two years ago reared a baby on his own which fell from the nest well before it could fly. It went to ground for three days before scrabbling up a tree. That female disappeared, perhaps injured by a cat which was quickly on the scene when the baby fell from the nest. I spent the three days on guard until the baby was strong enough to get up into the tree. How it never got taken by a cat during the night I’ll never know, perhaps the male BB hid it safely. I also have sparrows, greenfinches, dunnocks, waxeyes, bellbirds, starlings, and goldfinches which come to my garden.
We currently have blackbirds nesting in our backyard for the very first time. The nest is in a very strange location, balanced on a stack of piled up wood but ingeneously built and placed so as to be stable and it is at about waist height.
We didnt notice it at all until the nest was built and there were three eggs inside.
Yesterday morning two of the eggs hatched and when by the end of the day the third was still unhatched we gave it up for dead but overnight the late bloomer came into the world.
The whole family is a little bit obsessed, sneaking round to see them when Dad is off forraging (We havent really seen Mum since they hatched)and taking photos.
I have to go away for a week and I know the first thing I will be doing when I come back is running to check on the babies – since although my dog cant get to the birds, she keeps cats away usually and she will be in boarding while Im away.
I really cant understand how people can look at the little things and feel anything but awed.
Hi, being an introduced species I would appreciate a way to get rid of the blackbirds in my garden without resorting to trapping etc. Are there ways of excluding them naturally (specific veg?) while encouraging more natives? The natives in my backyard are primarily Superb Wrens, Eastern & Crimson Rosellas and Red & Little Wattlebirds + lots of Magpies and seasonal Little Corellas and Golden Whistlers.
Thanks for any help!
Sue – thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I wouldn’t worry too much – they seem to be very resilient birds.
It’s good to hear that you have a nice range of birds in your garden – some of them we don’t have here in Australia.
Happy bird watching.
Thanks for you comments too Jo. I agree – birds often leave me in awe. Especially when they are quite happy to live close to our houses and go about their every day activities quite close to human activity.
Enjoy your adopted family.
Hi there Paul. Welcome to my blog. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
I’m sorry, but I really can’t help you in trying to eliminate Blackbirds from your garden. This is a question many people ask and there is no easy solution.
By planting many native species of Australian plants you are giving the native bird species the best chance of survival. These will provide food (nectar, insects etc), protection from predators (hawks etc), shelter from inclement weather and nesting sites. It will add to the biodiversity in your area – especially if other gardeners are also doing this – as well the general feeling of helping the environment.
A good native garden often minimalises the attraction to Blackbirds anyway. If you are still concerned, removing any nests before they lay eggs could be one effective method of discouraging them. They will probably give up and go elsewhere which just shifts the problem I know. No easy solution.
Hi again Paul,
Going though my emails I discovered that Dorothy had replied to your question but somehow it didn’t appear here. Not sure why. Here is her suggestion:
One way of discouraging blackbirds is to develop your garden, we have planted a number of trees/shrubs in the back garden and blackbirds prefer more open land with hedge-like edges ie the traditional garden. However our blackbird loves the front garden which is more open but with enough cover. They also adore mulch, so grow more closely planted ground cover to discourage them.
Hello, i have spent the last hour or two pouring over this site trying to learn how i should care for 4 baby blackbirds who have hatched in the last 48 hours. My children aged 11 and 13 have watched the building of the nest and the laying of the eggs with amazement and eagerness! This morning we checked them and the four were fine and mum and dad were off out and about. This afternoon when the children came home from school, the father was lying dead in the driveway, feathers everywhere and the little ones were covered in a mass invasion of ants. With my children totally distraught, i reluctantly commenced the retreival process!. We collected one of the disused nests and picked the ants off and they are now in this nest in a box and under a light for warmth. They seem to have picked up amazingly well and now appear hungry!
I would welcome any advice, assistance or ideas. It seems that whilst they are only blackbirds, they have chosen our garden to live in and after the children investing so much time into them already we feel that we should give them every chance of survival, rather than leaving them to the ants!
Sadly when I got back from my holiday there was no sign of two of the babies. I promised myself that I would leave the remaining one alone but it didnt work out that way because the little fella kept getting himself in trouble. The nest was built under a sloped pergola and he had to be saved after slamming into it and being picked up by my dog while lying dazed on the ground. We put him back in his nest.
The next day we almost drove over him in our driveway and he had to be saved again. We thought he had gone but after investigating a strange sound found him trapped under our BBQ with his wing caught.
Finally we got fed up and instead of putting him back in his nest, took him to the highest point of our very steep backyard and put him on top of the gazebo where his Dad joined him and they both (finally!) took flight.
As much as Ive enjoyed the experience I will be taking the nest away so they cant lay there again next year – I dont think i could stand worrying about another lot of silly uncoordinated babies.
Hello there. I am a cockatiel breeder and as such do not know much about blackbirds. I live in Greenwith SA and my neighbour told me about a nest that had been built in one of her climbing rose bushes. I quickly worked out that it was a blackbird nest, given the activity of a very vocal male blackbird which was hanging around a lot, and lo and behold about 10 days ago the 3 eggs hatched. Yesterday my neighbour came over and was quite concerned that the 3 babies were no longer in the nest. We searched and located them in different spots in her backyard. They couldn’t fly, but were very agile runners. Given their size, and the small nest, there is no way that they would have stayed in the nest if we had put them back. My concern was that they would jump out again and be vulnerable not only to the elements, but also to my neighbour’s dog. I decided to take them to my local vet and they were going to pass them on to a local wildlife carer to finish rearing them. Is it normal behaviour for baby blackbirds to fledge before they can fly, and if it is, I am presuming that the parents seek them out to feed them. Did I do the right thing as I am feeling a little bit guilty as the parents are frantically looking for them. I would just like to know just in case I am faced with the same scenario again. Thanks.
Joanne – thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. In my experience many baby birds leave the nest before they can fly well. Only a few days ago I had to redirect a baby Blackbird that had lost its way. Several times it crashed into our kitchen window and then fluttered around on the veranda before it let me direct it back out into the garden. Many parent birds must have an awful time keeping up with their errant young!
In most cases it would be best to let them go under their own steam. Sure – the attrition rate is high, what with cats, dogs, hawks etc to contend with. Blackbirds often breed 3-5 times in a season so they quickly replace young that do not survive.
Hi there – A couple of seasons ago our first pair of blackbirds nested in our backyard in the NSW Southern Highlands. This season we have 3 or 4 pairs in ours and surrounding gardens. We have large trees near our bedroom and, yes, they are extremely vocal at night. Paul McCartney is constantly bought to mind!
My question is this, do blackbirds out-compete other birds including natives?
I have chooks, and unfortunately, because of the easy scraps and feed, we had plenty of Indian Mynas. To my delight their numbers seemed to have dropped considerably this season.
We also have native trees and shrubs which are home to Noisy Miners, Friar birds and other natives. Their numbers have also dropped and I have seen and heard the male blackbird in those trees.
Are Blackbirds aggressive, or have all the other birds migrated in search of a decent night’s kip?
As much as I enjoy having them around, if they are going to displace the natives I will try to discourage them.
Hi there Sally.
Your comments raise some interesting questions. I am not aware of Common Blackbirds being aggressive to other species. I my experience they are rather timid birds – in our garden at least. The Noisy Miners are usually the aggressive ones and it would be an interesting observation if the roles have been reversed in your area.
I’m sorry I can’t add any more at this point – all my reference books are 1300km away at home – I’m visiting family in Sydney at present.
We live at Aberfoyle Park, South Australia, and this morning our resident blackbird has just laid its fourth lot of eggs for this season – must be the unusual weather pattern. The mother is so tame that I can occasionally pat her. The nest is in a hanging basket of maidenhair fern outside the window of our computer room so we get a very good view daily. We love having them live with us and to hear their beautiful singing.
Hi there Gloria. Welcome to my blog about Australian birds. Your observation is not unusual. In our garden they often nest multiple times. Blackbirds have been known to raise up to six clutches of babies in the one season.
I also live in Aberfoyle Park. We have enjoyd watching many blackbirds build amazing nests and happily raise their young over the last season. However, on Christmas day and for the second time this season two eggs hatched in a nest built on our pool fence. We have enjoyed watching the babies progress and the parents busily attending to their young. Sadly, however, on Monday, we found one the featherless chicks dead, about 20 metres from the nest. It had no signs of trauma and looked fat and healthy. The other baby was still in the nest and the parents were feeding and attending to it as normal. Then, on Tuesday we were saddened to find the second chick dead in the same place as the first, again it had no signs of trauma. We have racked our brains as to what has caused this. There is no way a cat could get to the birds due to the nests position. As the nest is very deep the chicks could not have fallen out, then been moved. Has anybody any ideas? I would have thought if it were magpies they would have a least eaten it!
Hi there Jan,
It is quite likely that a Magpie could have taken the baby bird and then dropped it when disturbed. Other culprits could have been ravens, currawongs, kingfishers (eg Kookaburras) butcherbirds, or even smaller birds of prey (eg owls, frogmouths, hawks).
You might like to read more here:
I am currenly trapping Mynas & Starlings, but isn’t the Common Blackbird in the same group and regarded a pest? And the less we have of these the better off the native birds & wild life would be?? It is said one in 20 native birds are considered endangered…
It seems the blackbirds have stopped singing [usually around this time of year]—maybe something to do with hot weather and /or the mating season? they are sorely missed,the day seems empty without their songs
Thanks for your quick reply to my query on our dead baby Blackbirds. We really miss them busying about the garden. It is so sad to see their empty nest, which was so beautifully built.
We have quite a large amount of bird life in our garden, many of which are native. This I am sure is due to the large amount of native trees in Aberfoyle Park.
I have often heard that Blackbirds are a threat to our native birds. I was wondering why? They seen quite timid to me and I have never seen them bother other birds. They certainly build their nests in unusual spots which I believe, other birds would never consider. They forage around for food in our garden mulch which is abundant with beetles and worms etc.
Is it possible for native birds and some introduced, to live in harmony? Do you know of any statistical data?
Hi there Daniel – Common Blackbirds are an introduced species and are regarded by some as a pest, mainly because they can be a nuisance in scattering mulch in gardens, as well as digging up seeds and seedlings.
A much more serious concern, however, is that they are denying native birds a very valuable food source. Our native species are under enough threat already through human interference to the environment that they don’t need this additional threat.
There is probably some competition also with nesting sites but that may have only a minimal effect on native birds.
On the plus side, Blackbirds and their young do provide a very valuable food source for some native species. Owls and other birds of prey, currawongs, magpies, butcherbirds, ravens and kookaburras would all feed on the eggs and nestlings of the Blackbirds. Some reptiles would also benefit from this food source.
In answer to Robin’s question – the song of the Common Blackbird is largely confined to the breeding season from July to December.
Jan – I have largely answered your question in replying to Daniel above (#153). I don’t know if any research has been done in Australia on what effect introduced birds have on native species.
I watched a young yellow beaked black bird go into 3 of my bird houses that are being prepaired for nesting by long term residents, and clean the nest out. Is this normal? I have never had a problem before. Thank you for your responce.
I have 2 male black birds in my avery they are 20 years old and have with them large parrots,15 years ago i bred some young ones than i gave the females to a friend of me.The old birds stil sing very nice.regards Willy
We have blackbirds nesting in the shed . They have made a nest in a bucket of wire on the top shelf. They will fly in and out while my husband is working in the shed and feed their young.We look forward to the messy garden bed as this signals the arrival of the nesting season and the beautiful bird song. Dorothy.
Thanks for sharing your experiences Dorothy. Blackbirds certainly are wonderful song birds.
we have blackbirds nesting on the top step of my husbands ladder (leaning against the house!). We were quite excited when the mummy bird had 4 eggs and they have now hatched. They seem to be getting used to us walking by…. I would like to know how long from when the babies are born to when they try out flying for the first time? I need to block off an area from my old retriever girl (14.5years but still has the bird/duck instinct).
Hi there Teresa,
The eggs generally hatch in 12 – 14 days after the last egg is laid. The babies then fledge (fly from the nest) in 13 – 15 days on average. The young usually leave the nest on the same day – sometimes over 2 days.
It is 11am, and the blackbird that has been constantly singing since dawn is still going. I have not had any decent sleep since this started a couple of weeks ago. I can understand people say it’s a beautiful song when it’s in the evening, but not in the mornings, I’ve had enough. Do you know why they do this? We also have many other bird species in our garden including red wattlebirds, currawongs, Indian and noisy mynas, magpies and rosellas, but the blackbird is the only one I NEED to get rid of for my sanity. I know you had a previous forum on this topic and I’ll try some of the suggestions such as rubber snakes, but is there any other methods of removing blackbirds without affecting the natives?
I have a small back courtyard regularly visited by two male blackbirds – a young spritely one, and and older, slower ‘senior’. They have always foraged in the garden on and off through the day, but never together. Recently the younger male has had a chick in tow, and I noticed the other day that all three birds seemed to be ‘hanging out’ together. Does anyone know if this is common behaviour amoung the species? Do blackbirds behave at all like the mynah birds, where older aunts and uncles help care for the babies? Thanks for any help you can give to this query.
Hi there Paul,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. This one slipped my attention and I’m sorry for the delay in answering.
The Blackbird – most bird species in fact – sing for several reasons. During breeding season – spring for most species in Australia – they are marking their territory. The song lays claim to that part of the world and warns other males to keep out. The other reason birds call is to keep contact with others of its own kind – in the case of Blackbird it would be keeping contact with the female sitting on the nest. The Blackbird also has a very pronounced warning call, telling others that danger is near (eg a predator). Many other birds also have warning calls.
As for getting rid of the singing bird which is annoying you I have no suggestions for possible solutions. Sorry about that.
Hi there Rachel,
Communal and cooperative nesting and feeding and raising young is fairly common in a wide range of species. I’ve not personally observed this with Blackbirds but it doesn’t surprise me.
We had a blackbird come in a few weeks ago, built her nest underneath a verandah at eye level with our kitchen window, had 3 eggs last week and was constantly in and out sitting on them. We went away on Friday night – she was in the nest – and returned on Sunday night. There has been no sign of her since we returned. Nothing has been done to upset her. I’m devastated. Is this normal behaviour? I’m assuming she needs to be on the nest – particularly in the evening when it’s cooler – to hatch the eggs? I’m thinking she has come to grief somehow while we were away. I’ve searched the yard but there is no sign of her.
Hi there Robyn,
Welcome to my blog. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving comments and a question.
Sadly, the death rate for nesting birds is very high. The fact that the female was constantly on and off the nest seems to indicate that she may have been inexperienced at sitting on eggs. Perhaps she was too young to know how to do it properly. Normally the female stays on the eggs for an extended time, rarely leaving the nest to feed. There have been many males observed actually feeding the female while she is sitting. Other pairs take it in turns to hatch the eggs.
The fact that she has not returned to the nest means that those eggs will not hatch. Leave them for a few days and if nothing happens remove them. If you want to, you can leave the nest there and it may be used again later in the season, either by blackbirds (even the same pair) or another species of bird. Many species nest 2-5 times in a season.
If she has disappeared completely it probably means she has died or been killed. This can be caused by predators (cats, dogs, hawks, owls – even snakes). Or she may have become the latest victim of road kill.
Try to put it out of your mind and enjoy the other birds you have in your garden. They can be such a delight. That is what my bird blog is all about.
Thanks Trevor. Seems like I will have to move on! Just one thing – she built her nest on top of our outdoor umbrella which had been folded up and stored during winter. When I saw her building her nest I decided the umbrella was hers. If she doesn’t come back to the nest in the next few days and I take the eggs away, how can I remove the umbrella and put in another device to keep the nest safe? And what should that device be?
Is it possible to put up some hanging baskets? Doesn’t matter if they have plants in them – this is probably preferable as it hides the nest. Worth a try anyway.
I live in Victoria and today I found a baby bird, which I believe to be a black bird, laying on the grass in my back yard. It is still alive however very cold. I warmned it and have placed it in a box on some tissues. It is not very old, It has min feathers, nearly bald and eyes are still shut. I know that these birds are generally considered a pest but I couldnt just walk away…now I dont know what to do with it.. Any suggestions
Hello, thank you so much for your wealth of information regarding the Blackbird.
I googled Blackbirds, and here i am!
We have had the pleasure of watching a Blackbird couple build an amazing nest in our patio, on top of our Elkhorn, she then layed her eggs, and we have had the chance to watch her babies be born and grow at an astonishing rate! This has been a wonderful experience, especially for our 2 children that have been totally delighted watching this transform! I have kept a photo diary of this, and i will treasure these pictures for years to come.
Over the last day or so, we have been surprised that Dad has almost taken over the parenting role, and really havent seen Mum at all? Is this normal do you know, or could Mum have found herself in trouble?
I have some great pictures, if you are interested in seeing them, i would gladly forward them onto you, once again, thanks for this information, it truely has been a great help!
Thanks for this Sharnee,
Normally the female hatches the eggs and then both parents share the feeding of the young. Occasionally the male will take a turn incubating the eggs too.
There is a possibility that the female has been taken by a predator (hawk, owl, snake, cat, dog, or is a victim of roadkill).
Yes, I’d like to see 2 or 3 of the best photos. Use the “Contact” form at the top of this page.
Thanks for your quick responce Trevor,
good news, Mum was back tonight to watch of her rapidly growing young! There really is no room for her now, so she is sitting just off to the side of the nest.
dad did do a bit pf the incubating, this truely has been a very interesting and very rewarding experience to witness, i never thought blackbirds could be so intriging, considering, i am by far a bird ‘lover’, although i think that may have changed a little!
many thanks again for your wealth of knowledge, and ill send on some pictures of our Blackbird family,
I’ve currently got a blackbird nest in my backyard, and a baby blackbird running around in the backyard. The parents are still around and appear to still be feeding it. Just wondering if it is normal for the babies to run around for a few days before learning to fly?
Hi there Naomi,
Have you have strong winds recently? This can often blow young birds out of the nest prematurely by a few days. Another cause is if the baby was spooked by something – a predator (cat, hawk etc) – or even someone getting too close to the nest.
This is a quite common occurrence and can often result in the demise of the baby bird. The fact that the parents are still feeding it is good news. In a few days it will ‘find its wings’ and be more independent and able to escape most threats.
Terrific blog, great to read all these intresting stories. Just over a week ago we’ve found a baby black bird in our enclosed courtyard. It seems fine and the parents have been coming back twice a day or so feeding it. We’ve also left some water and bird seeds around the courtyard in case it’s getting hungry. It has feathers and looks ok. However is it normal that they are using their wings when hopping around (is this because it’s still a baby and it’s just a bit clumsy?) We are worried that it might have done anything to its wings? We are unsure what to do? I really would love for the little one to start flying. Also, do you think it would feel lonely? Would be great to get some feedback.
Hi there Kristin,
Sorry about the delay in replying – I’ve been away from home with no internet access.
How did the baby Blackbird go?
Many times baby birds leave the nest a few days early and struggle to survive as a result. They can be blown out of the nest by strong winds, or they can be frightened out by predators (cats, snakes, hawks, currawongs, magpies etc) or even frightened away by humans.
This often results in their death – sad but a fact of life. For this reason many birds breed 2-4 times in one season, laying 2-4 eggs each time in the hope that 1 or 2 will survive until adulthood. It’s a tough world out there.
Thanks for visiting my site.
We’ve butcher birs here for yrs, unfortunately for the last 18mnths or so they’ve stopped singing. Can you think of any reason for this? They seem to hav had some young in that time though.
Spent the last five weeks raising a baby blackbird. Gradually started taking it outside to forage, then early this week it stayed out overnight. Saw it again the next morning and gave it a good feed. It protested being being taken indoors again, so I let it stay out again. havn’t seen it since (two days now) what do you think its survival chances are? How far do they range?
Hi there Steve,
At that age the Blackbird is ready to be fully independent. They normally range over a relatively small area, perhaps an acre or two depending on the vegetation, availability of food and whether others will chase it from their territory. Survival rate in most smaller birds is low as there are so many predators out there – hawks, owls, cats, dogs etc. That is why Blackbirds (and many other species) breed 2-5 times a season, often attempting to raise 3-4 young in the hope 1 or 2 survive to adulthood. Tough world out there.
Hi Jane – I have no idea why the butcherbirds in your area have stopped calling. That is most unusual behavior. Bird calls are not for our entertainment or pleasure – they are usually given to announce their rights over a territory, or to warn other birds away. Sorry that I can offer no explanation for this change in behavior.
A few weeks ago I began to notice a couple blackbirds hanging around my hanging basket of Tahitian Bridal Veil. Since I discovered they were nesting in it (i think it is really funny also) I have enjoyed and discovered the nesting pattern of this type of bird. Tonight I took a photo of what I think is their the only offspring who was standing up on the side of the basket but the little thing jumped out on the the ground. It ran so fast before I could finally get hold of it. But as I tried to grab the baby, the mother came back and tweeted so very loudly at me, and literally followed me closely too – within a few feet of me. I tried to put the baby back in the basket, but it jumped out again. I managed to get it to stay in the basket again and I went indoors. She kept chirping and behaved as if she was guarding the whole area – I just wanted her to jump back into the nest and look after the baby. I would like to know if I have done damage to their environment – will the baby be rejected because I held it? I feel so awful now.
Hi there Tennille,
No damage done – it sounds like the young bird was ready to leave the nest anyway. Even when it does leave prematurely, the parents will follow it and feed it.
I watched with delight as a couple of Blackbirds made a nest under my pergola just before Christmas but since then nothing.
They just built it and left it, I still see them around the garden but they don’t go near the nest.
Do you think they will ever use it?
Hi there Tony,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a question.
It is near the end of breeding season for many of our birds, including the Blackbirds. With all the hot weather we’ve been having I doubt if they will use that nest now. Next spring they may refurbish the nest (if it lasts that long) or even use some of the materials over again.
We have had Blackbirds re-use a nest in an empty plant pot in a garden shed because it is completely out of the weather.
Just stayed tuned – they will nest again in late winter or early spring.
I have raised a beautiful little female blackbird( total fledgling, no covering what so ever ) which I found on a driveway, she was covered in ants and was almost at the point of death. To-day she is healthy and very cheeky. One problem she likes her food placed in a bowl of water. I feed her fresh berries and the best steak. She loves to bath everyday but why does she only like her food placed in the water. Lives out in an old Mulberry tree but returns inside every evening. She and the budgie are great mates and Christmas ( the blackbird)knows how to let Joey out of his cage, this she does with great delight .How can I teach her to source her own food. I have put lots of soil in trays and hide food there for her, she scatters it all over the place but does not eat the food. She spends her day playing in the old tree and replies to me when I call her and actually dances to a tune I whistle for her. She is such a delight.
hi, we had a nest of 5 baby black birds but the magpies an cats got 4 of them i have taken the last 1 into a cage to give fight chance, as tail feathers still not come in have i done the right thing ? mum not been seen dad still around ocasionaly at a distance
Blackbirds are a major pest.
1. Their song is nonstop Aug-Dec with their irritating high pitch, waking people up from 3AM, and going ALL day. We have so many lovely native species here but this thing just takes over – it’s a nightmare with no escape. They carry on thru other months with other irritating noises thru the year.
2. They wreck all the mulch in the gardens, leaving spaces for weeds.
There is a remedy, but it takes patience. In the winter when they are on the ground (once Spring is here it is too late as they’re up in the trees singing) you need to set rat traps under bushes etc where they dig, with strawberries and cherries. But remember every day counts as once Spring arrives….
Wrong Shane, you are a pest, blackbirds are native so live with it, and you better not use traps as this is against the law.
Thanks for your comments Shane and Tennille.
Let’s keep the debate polite please.
As owner and moderator of this blog I reserve the right to accept or reject any comments, and to close them if I so choose. This I have only done on one occasion.
The facts are:
1. Many people love the call of the Common Blackbird.
2. Some people hate the call and the mess that Blackbirds cause.
3. Common Blackbirds are an INTRODUCED SPECIES in AUSTRALIA. Therefore they are not native and therefore not protected by law here.
4. There is an active education awareness to keep this species out of Queensland where it is steadily increasing its range.
re blackbirds songs– I invite anyone to listen and see if blackbirds repeat themselves in their short phrases;, they never do! –Even tho they go all day, and the sound is unique to each bird–also the harmonic intervals are extemely ‘modern’. Such musical genius should be protected. As far as being an introduced species, no doubt that applies to most people’s ancestors in Australia regards rob
in what way moderation–let me know so can change ? Thanks
Hi there Robin,
Thanks for visiting and for leaving your comments adding to the debate.
Like many blogs, mine has moderated comments. The main reason for this is to prevent spam comments being posted. In the 4 year life of this blog about birds I’ve had nearly 3,500 genuine comments. In the same time my spam filtering programme has prevented 140,000 spam comments – usually made by people of doubtful moral character (eg porn).
I encourage genuine, helpful and insightful comments like yours. The debates here can be very interesting.
I also allow genuine differences of opinion, like Shane’s rant about the call being annoying. I can stop comments on any posting – and have done so – only the once. One reader tried to high jack the debate by strongly pushing her very narrow religious beliefs. It was way off topic, so I close the debate. Call it censorship if you like, but I made the tough call after giving my reasons. The debate was turning very nasty.
Other forms of my moderation include:
1. Occasional editing (eg spelling corrections). I usually don’t have time to do this.
2. Deletion of offensive comments (eg swearing)
3. Deletion of personal attacks on me or other readers – this is very rare – and I always give reasons.
4. First time commenters always need my approval first – second and subsequent comments are automatic. This is a second line of defence against spam comments.
Hope this helps your understanding of moderation. If you want further clarification feel free to add comments – or contact me via email to do it offline – the details are on the “Contact” link on the task bar at the top of each page.
I’ve just had a telephone call from my partner who is at home working on his Phd. He tells me he can see Mrs Blackbird from our kitchen window “gardening”. We are priveledged to have had two families build a nest in our hedge and raise their chicks. It broke my heart when the chicks fledged and left. When Mr Blackbird is out singing his beautiful song, my partner mischieviously challenges him. One can almost see Mrs Blackbird perk up and is all ears until she sees where the whistling is coming from. We absolutely love our blackbirds and can’t wait for the singing to start.
what a great site!I need some help.I have a baby blackbird (no feathers as yet)as his siblings were slaughter by magpies and the parents have gone.I am feeding him insector mix and giving him some antibiotics.He is not to alert but he is eating (small amounts every 2 hrs)and pooing(normal amounts.)is it normal for baby birds to sleep so much?I dont know how many days old he is but has feathers starting on his wings.am i feeding him right?Help!!! I would like to give him a good chance.
I really enjoy your blogs and hope to keep doing so for a long time to come. However, with regard to blogger Shane and his rather aggressive comments, I don’t think that blackbirds are really his problem at all, rather, just an excuse to unleash an unexplained internal anger. His joy in the act of killing the birds is what concerns me most. Maybe you should consider not printing his blogs?
I agree Jan.
I have deleted his latest comment.
we have 2 baby blackbirds who have just started to become fully feathered in a nest right outside our bathroom window.
both their parents are taking care of them but unfortunetly we have a very active cat which i am positive will snatch up and kill these babies as soon as they begin to fledge and search for food on the griound.(before this we put netting around the tree to prevent the cat climbing up.)
im thinking that taking these babies from the nest soon to prevent the inevitable is best and maybe the parents will not return to this nest next time.
but i am just concerned with teaching the chicks to forage (as i have done the same with an injured thrush and all worked out, except he was too humanised and did not know how to catch his own food)
any suggestions would be much appreciated!!
What A waste of space Shane is.I cant beleive he was issued a gun licence to start with.He will proberbly shoot someone while he is trying to shoot a blackbird.he sounds like he will be a danger to everyone.
We have a young blackbird that keeps tapping on my sons window and has caused conciderable damage to the fly screen.
Are you able to suggest a way to help prevent the damage.
Any advice would be very much appreciated.
My apologies for now answering some recent comments.
I have been very busy in recent months finishing my Masters Degree. Nearly there.
Sherree – is the Blackbird still tapping at the window? If so – try draping some shadecloth over the area – it must be able to see its own reflection and thinks it is another bird coming into its territory.
Sherree – if you are reading this you didn’t get my reply because your email address was invalid and it bounced.
Readers: if you require comments on or answers to questions you must give valid email addresses an subscribe to comments (see at bottom of the page).
We have some nesting blackbirds under the eves of our outside deck. They have had one clutch of three which have flown the nest. To our surprise, another clutch appeared.
However, yesterday was a cold and windy day and we found one of the clutch on the ground next to the nest. My partner picked it up and held it in her hands crying for the poor thing. But, after a couple of hours of warmth and crying, the baby perked up.
We really expected it to die, but we put it in a warn box so it was comfortable.
Now we don’t know what to do! Do we feed it? Do we try and put it back in the nest? Will it survive either way? If we put it back in the nest will it disturb the other young ones or the parents? If we feed it, what do we give it?
Please help as a matter of urgency. Thank you.
Mr Randall, I hope Trevor gets back to your question very soon. When I had a young chick fall out of it’s nest ( being my hanging basket :-)) I put him back in after I chased the little devil around the carpark that was! I was worried about abandonment for I did pick up the chick a few times before the capture and thought it would smell foreign towards the hen from my contact. Trevor gave great advice and the Hen kept up her chick rearing.
hi there, i’m the partner of Tony Randall with the young black bird chick. I got hold of fauna rescue who also said put him back in the nest. When I did I found there was another 3 chicks in there, and little room. My little one was alot smaller, very weak and only had feathers on his wings. He’s been back in the nest 16 hours, but compared to the others he was very underdeveloped. I’ve since seen the others beaks in the air, but no sign of my little one. I hope he’s not hidden under the others, as he was so weak, I doubt he could fight for food. To be honest, I’m afraid he’s already passed away stuck under them in the nest. 🙁
Tennille, thanks for your response. I have a bit of an update. Because we didn’t know what to do, we tried hand-feeding the chick (dog food and water) which it took a little of. It is very young and had a few tufty feathers and didn’t look like it would make it. After digging around the internet yesterday and finding someone to call, we got some advice about putting the chick back in the nest and that the human scent wouldn’t be a problem. We waited until the mother went for food and climbed up to the next and put the chick back. We could see the problem straight away – there were three larger chicks in the nest and obviously the smaller chick got muscled out. However, we still put the chick back and kept a close watch for the chick being pushed out again. So far so good – the chick is still in the next but we are not sure whether it is getting its share of the food. I think our conclusion is to let the mother do the work and let mother nature decide. I will update if I have any further news over the coming week.
Hi Tenelle and other bidie people, i have an update on my little bald chick. He’s been back in the nest for nearly 3 days now, and we’ve seen him with his head in the air for food with the other 3 babies. He’s still smaller but has feathers and seems to be fine with his siblings. I’m so happy. He still faces the test of learning to fly, which hopefully we’ll see soon. Hopefully i’ll get a photo to post on this site. Thanks for your advice 🙂
HOORAY!!!that’s gorgeous!!!!! He will be pinching the worms from your garden in no time 🙂
Last night I let my cat outside and she straight away found a black bird chick that had fallen out of the nest. I picked him up and kept him inside wrapped up in a towel for the night, i can’t see his nest it’s probably up under the roof of my verandah. I live on a farm so I’ve had baby animals before and it’s not such a big deal to raise him, but what am i going to feed him?
Hi Sarah, I fed my little one mushed up dog food. But check out fauna rescue South Australia web page. They have advice on feeding etc. U can ring them too if in Australia. Good luck 🙂 ps: ours all left the nest yesterday and our little one was fine
One of the 2 chicks which hatched in our backyard a month ago has only one wing. So it hops around our yard while its sibling has taken off to learn to fly and forage. So I guess we have ourselves a permanent resident, so I’ve made water available and access to our compost bin. The bin is a big drawcard for the rest of the family, giving our wingless baby some regular contact with its family.
i hate them, have you any idea’s on how to get rid of them , i have so many in my garden & i’m noticing the finches & wren’s don’t visit as much as they used to …regards Dianne Deaves
Sorry about the delay in replying. Most people love the call of the Blackbird but I will acknowledge that they can also be a pest, driving out our native species, taking their food, using their nesting sites and scattering mulch on garden beds when gardeners are trying to conserve water.
The only effective method I know is to be very vigilant and remove any nests you see being built – before they lay eggs or hatch them. This will have limited success as they can just move next door and nest. To be really successful, you would have to have everyone in a suburb/city doing the same thing, no easy task as many people love these “pests.”
I guess I am saying that we are stuck with them – like all the other introduced pests like rabbits, foxes, pigs, camels, hares (they ring bark our young trees), mice, rats (not the native rats and mice) cane toads…. where does the list end? Then just think of all the introduced plants which have become pests… mmm… don’t get me started down that track.
I love our blackbirds, I haven’t seen any in our area, before which is near Wollongong, then about a year ago there was a single male – a fair while later a female appeared. They disappeared for a few months and I thought something may have happened to them. But surprise – surprise they arrived back last week with three others. I’m guessing these are their grown up chicks. We still have native birds in our garden which is quite overgrown and has lots of trees and shrubs so the birds love it.
Thanks for sharing, Melissa.
[…] Common Blackbirds – my most popular article. […]
Do blackbirds use human hair to line their nests? I have never seen a nest up close and was wondering.
Blackbird nests are usually made of bark, grass, rootlets and sometimes wool, feathers and other soft materials handy. I would imagine human hair would make a fine, soft nest lining. You can see photos of blackbird nests here:
I can tell you that we have the Common Blackbirds in Goondiwindi. I first saw the one in our garden about 18 moths ago. We could not identify it with the Australian bird books so had to rely on the Net. We have two males in our garden this year. Happily singing and scratching our mulch all over the place. Not the easiest to photograph but I’ll keep trying.
I live on an acre on the edge of town. Our landscaping is very natural, variety of natives, mulch beds and some areas of lawn.
Over the last few years I noticed a change in bird species. A lot of black birds were present but small native wrens and finchs were absent. This year I have shot almost 100 black birds, there are still a few around, but now the other birds have returned. I’m sure if you take notice you will realise these intruders are flourishing at the expense of our native birds.
We have had a mother blackbird sitting on a nest in our garage for weeks. How long do they sit on the eggs for? Wondering if there is actually life in her eggs.
For 4 years we have been feeding the same male & female Magpies, they bring their babies when they leave the nest for the minced steak we feed them from our hands or the kitchen window (they are not reliant on us for food) we have been away for 4 weeks & they will fly in as we drive in the gate! However a couple of black birds arrived last year, the male Magpie eventually killed the female black bird, he is very aggresive but the female & babies aren’t too fussed. Today we spotted a “couple” of B.Birds in the Leylandi hedge. My question is , would they still be nesting and if so how long for? Thank you for any comments….. Celeste.
Hi Celeste, sorry about the delay in answering. I am currently travelling in Morocco and have limited internet access.
Many of our smaller birds will nest several times during spring and summer. The season can last as long as January or even February.
A pair of blackbirds raised two chicks in our backyard. For the first time this evening the chicks flew out of the nest because they saw one family member stand near them. I could see they were not good at flying. The smaller chick disappeared and the larger chick went higher up to the fence top. Then darkness came. Would Trevor advise me if chicks that young will survive being away from their parents and nest?
Quite likely – once they leave the nest they can be remarkably resilient.
I have just rescued 2 australasian grebe chicks (with Wires) & not too many people seem to know the best thing to do with them, so I am on a fact finding mission, gathering all the advice I can. I came upon your site by accident, so I thought..why not try!! Cheers Jan
Please advise me by emal, thanks.
I wrote to you last December. Now I have another question regarding blackbirds. Two blackbirds built a nest in between a climbing plant and a trellis in my backyard. On 2/9 the mother bird started laying eggs. There are 4 eggs in total. She sits in the nest everyday,occasionally leaving it. Throughout the day yesterday (10/9) the mother bird was nowhere to be seen. I checked in the morning, afternoon and after dark, it didn’t return. Today I saw the male blackbird flying around the nest and backyard several times, presumbling looking for its partner.
I think the mother bird has met with an accident or was killed. I have seen birds crashing onto the glass door of my family room and died, I have seen a male blackbird got caught in some string in a tree in my backyard and couldn’t be saved. Will the mother bird abandon the eggs? If it doesn’t return, what can be done with the eggs? Will they hatch by themselves? If they hatch, what can be done to care for the chicks?
Your quick advice will be much appreciated.
Sad to say, it is already too late to do anything. When sitting on eggs, birds only leave for a few minutes at a time to feed. If the eggs get cold which can occur very quickly, the developing embryo will die.
I suspect the bird has met with an accident of some kind. The death rate in birds is much higher than most people realise. That is why they always lay 2 – 4 eggs and have several broods every year in the hope that 1 or 2 will survive to maturity. It’s a tough life for a bird.
Hello. For what its worth we have a colony of blackbirds in Uralla near Armidale in northern NSW (about 500km North of Sydney). I understand they were introduced into this region back in the mid to late 1800’s by one of the larger property owners in the region (Saumarez)
Common Blackbirds have been introduced in many parts of Australia and are now regarded as a pest species by many.
The species is not only thriving, but is expanding its range every year.
We live in NZ and have had a pair of blackbirds nesting in our Clematis. They have managed to raise 1 baby and he has been out of the nest for nearly 4 weeks now.The male bird has been looking after him solely for well over a week and the female seems to have another batch of eggs in the Clematis as she keeps flying in and out.The baby bird is pretty self sufficient but still seems to like hanging out with Dad, unfortunately Mum keeps flying out of the bush and chasing him away.This has been going on for 2 or 3 days and he still keeps coming back.Will he eventually move on and is this normal for Mum to drive him away ?
I found a baby blackbird in my dog kennel (that my dog obviously found). I have a few blackbirds around our place so I find babies regularly. I dont know where it came from so couldnt put it back and have been feeding it cat biscuits ground up and mixed with water on the end of a cotton bud stick for 4 days now. I keep it in an old blackbird nest that I found in the backyard and have the nest in a container.
I didnt expect it to survive more than a couple of days as it was pretty much bald when I found it, with just a bit of fluff. I have found many like this before and they always die. I think this one may survive as he is eating like a pig and has grown a fair bit.
The problem is, what do I do now. Ideally I would like to return it to the yard when big enough but not sure if it will know how to survive. I also dont know what else to feed it and at what age to change the food? Any advice would be appreciated 🙂
Hi, nice to find an Australian site that’s not totally hostile to blackbirds. I’m in the inner city in Melbourne and am caring for an injured fledgling whose parents abandoned it last week, probably within 4 days of it being out of the nest. It’s since been accepting food from me (berries, raisins and soaked vegan dog food) and has become quite confident around me – it hopped inside today and is sitting on the couch! This is not what I planned – hoped to feed it until its wing healed (a vet said the wing was not broken) and then see it fly off. However I suspect its wing damage may be quite serious or it may be missing some key development time because of the injury. It’s starting to do blackbirdy things like scratch the earth for grubs and wipe its beak and so on and seems well enough. My quandary is, do I keep it as a ‘pet’ (hate the term) even though it may never fly or mate or socialise with other blackbirds, or would it be better to have it euthanised humanely? The longer it stays, the harder this will be. Thanks for any advice.
Are you sure its parents abandoned it as they feed it on the ground when it is a fledgling.
I have had my blackbird for 2 and a half weeks now and it can fly. My plan is to try and get it so it lives in the yard but have some sort of feeder for it to supplement its food as it has always been hand fed. I see this as a compromise between having it as a ‘pet’ where it is caged, and totally wild where it receives no help. Unfortunately not as easy as I thought.
‘Chirpy’ loves being hand fed (chicken pellets turned into paste with water),I am trying meal worms now to try and teach her how to peck to eat food but she is resisting.
During the day I let her outside and if I go outside and she is hungry she just flies up to me and lands on my shoulder. I still put her in at night. Blackbirds dont seem to travel very far and will hang around the garden, they seem to like low bushes and trees to hang out in.
My opinion is that once you have interfered with nature and helped it you cant just then decide to kill it. The wing may be fine it it is not broken, and all it really needs to be able to do is fly into low trees and shrubs to escaped predetars
Hi Richard, thanks for your reply and congratulations on the effort you’re putting in to help your blackbird.
I noticed the little bird in my yard early last week, hopping cheerfully and ‘flying’ a bit while its parents came in to feed it. I left it alone, and noticed it was roosting on a post about halfway up the fence. About a week ago there was a mighty commotion in the yard. I saw a large rat running up the fence. The terrified fledgling ran into my house bleeding from the wing. I took it to a vet the next morning and they said the wing was not broken. I think they were preparing to euthanise it on the spot, but I said I’d take it back because its parents had been feeding it. I returned it to the yard and one of the parents did continue feeding it for a day, then came twice the next day and then never showed again. I left it alone until it was clear the parent wasn’t coming back, then started feeding it.
I gather the fledgling stage is about 2 weeks so I am hoping I will see some sort of flight by next week. In the meantime I’m trying to encourage it to pick up food from the ground and keeping it inside at night. It can sort of scramble up onto things about a foot high and it does use both wings (for balance rather than flight), which is a good sign.
I appreciate your thoughts. It’s tricky to know what to do when a wild animal is injured.
yeah it is always hard to know what to do. Mine went from a little bald thing which couldn’t even walk to flying in 2 weeks. They grow very quickly. If fully feathered they should be able to fly, but if yours has an injured wing it may be a while. If it can feed itself I think it will be fine – I intend to leave food out for mine as I got it so young that it has been hand fed since day one, so has missed out on the training only the parents are equipped to give it.
Hope it works out well
we have had a number of nests recently …unfortunately all were unsuccessful ..eggs were taken chicks were left to die …one nest had four eggs in and then a day later only one was left ..any views as to why …also is it wise to rescue chicks if it appears they have been abandoned ..
Hi Ian, I’m certainly no expert but know that rats are a major problem for eggs and I suspect the babies as well. It’s almost impossible to rat-proof a garden or yard.I’ve been looking after my little blackbird for a month now and it is still not flying (clearly the wing is badly damaged) but it is searching for and catching bugs, hopping about expertly and seems very interested in its days. For me, looking after this one has been a success. I think the best advice is to monitor an ‘abandoned’ chick and be sure the parents have gone (maybe half a day or so) before attempting a rescue. Since they’re non-native, vets are likely to euthanise an injured blackbird unless you’re prepared to take it on as a ‘pet’, and I’ve been advised to take care to be very clear with the vet about this before going into the surgery with the bird. Best wishes.
Regarding chicks disappearing, I also have the same experiences. In November four chicks were hatched and several days later one disappeared. Fortunately the other 3 survived. Then on Christmas Eve two chicks were hatched in the same nest by the same mother blackbird and 1 egg did not. Last night I still saw the father blackbird feed them but this morning both chicks were gone, although the unhatched egg is still there. Some nest materials from the bottom of the nest were left hanging outside the nest. I guess the chicks were taken by other animals. Rats might be a possibility as Rosemary suggested because I have seen them before at night running on the fence top, but never saw them running along the horizontal vine branch where the nest was built.
We’ve had a black bird with 3 chicks until this morning. They’re all gone. When investigating, we found broken twigs/ branches in the bush and then a little bird in a plant trapped. It seems to have only a few scratches but cannot support itself. We put it into an empty half of coconut shell lines with tissue and tried to feed it slugs and worms, with some success. We did’nt see the parents all day.
How quick do they grow? Will they eat pellets/ bread/ boiled veggies? We don’t intend to keep the bird, only help him out until it’s ok to survive.
Any tips and advise are appreciated!
Hi, good on you for trying to help the little bird. I’d suggest trying to keep it near where you found it, if it’s safe, just in case one of the parents comes back. Maybe bring it inside at dusk and keep it somewhere dark and quiet and then out again at dawn if that’s not too stressful for the bird. There are a lot of UK sites about blackbirds, I learned from them that young birds can be fed chopped up worms, meat based dog food and a special ‘insectivore’ bird mix (for insect/meat eating birds like blackbirds) that you may find at a pet shop. I had good success with soaked raisins and chopped up berries. Don’t try to give it water since apparently it’s easy to choke them this way – better to give sodden fruit. If it’s a chick, it may be a week or so before it fledges (hops out of the nest and lives on the ground and in bushes), then you’ll need to feed and keep an eye on it for a week or two until it begins to fly. Best of luck!
Sorry, I meant sultanas, not raisins. Interestingly, mine won’t go near currants, maybe because they look like mouse poop!
if its a fledgling (full covering but cant really fly) best to leave it where you found it but monitoror it as its parents may feed it, this is normal). if kind of bald I foundcat biscuits mixed wth water to a paste, and fed on the end of a cotton bud stick with the cotton torn off works really well. touh the food on the beak and it should open its mouth and push the stick to the top ofthe back of the throat and it will swallow. if it doesnt open its moutth try stroking the top of its head with your finger.use the bird nestfrom the yard if still intact. sorry about typis but on
Yet another story about a busy nest for weeks or so & then a quiet empty one. Cannot see any little fledglings around. As I have magpies, ravens plus wrens honey-eaters, corellas, & willywagtails I can only assume they have been nabbed. I was puzzled last year but after reading some of the above, I guess the same happened & the attrition rate is high. Fortunately I am in a rural situation and there are plenty of blackbirds around.
Happy day for our black birds, their two chicks came out of the nest today and hiding under the plants in the garden. We can see them stretching and flapping their wings, trying to take off. The parents are on guard close by, it’s all going well!
Sorry I didn’t read all 200 odd comments. I heard once that the Blackbird only sings when it is going to rain or storm. Any relevance to this. I generally don’t hear their call unless it is about to rain, so I like to think this might be correct. Any insight please?
Sounds like an urban myth. Our resident Blackbirds have been very vocal for the last two months and we’ve only had the occasional shower in that time.
Having said that, it may be true of other regions. I’ve not heard this saying myself. Sorry I can’t clear this up for you.
The little fledgling I adopted last year when it was injured in my yard has survived for a year. It still has the adolescent colours (brown) but its beak is only tinged yellow, not full yellow. I was sure that it was a male, because a couple of times it sang the full, complex melodious song that you hear the males singing in the evening, and is very territorial and squabbles with – and provokes – the three male blackbirds in the area. However, in the last week or so it has been nest building and has mated with at least one of the males. I’m hoping no young will result – it can’t fly and so wouldn’t be able to teach its young. Also, I don’t know that the area (inner builtup urban) could sustain more blackbirds. Will wait and see.
That’s an interesting observation, Rosemary. I always assumed that it was only the males who sang. I can’t check my reference books either as I am currently visiting family interstate and will be away until the New Year. Keep a close watch on what happens.
Thanks Trevor, I’d be interested to hear what your references say. Most of the material online suggests that it is only the males that sing, so I find it a bit confounding. The first time it did the full song it had got down under some plants and shelving and sang a full array of melodies in a hushed sort of way. I noticed one of the adult males on the guttering nearby listening intently. Then it sang it again a few weeks later – again, with an adult male nearby. It was a bit like a provocation. It has when younger been attacked by the adult males, quite aggressively, so I have built a shelter for protection, for when I am not around to shoo them off. Now, however, there are two males coming courting, and my little bird is busy building a nest. Maybe it is indeed a girl who wants to have it all! It’s fascinating to have the opportunity to observe a (semi) wild bird at such close quarters.
I have become increasingly fascinated by the birdlife in my garden. I was looking up the internet to find information on blackbird breeding habits, and discovered your blog. Here I am, hours later, still reading the postings of like minded bird lovers. Thank you!
When I bought my house in Happy Valley 22 years ago, there were blackbirds nesting in the ceiling above my bedroom. While it was quite nice to hear the chirruping and fluttering as the babies matured, the smell, hygenic issues etc weren’t so nice. After the babies had left, I had the gap in the eaves filled in. The next spring they found a way around the wire stuffing, so I bided the season through and then access was denied forever. I wasn’t particularly observant re their whereabouts after that, but was aware that for years, there were always a few blackbirds in the garden. A few years ago we did a big general pruning job as things had become more unwieldy than the slightly overgrown state I like. We left the clippings in a big pile by the back gate for several weeks. When we started moving them, we upset a blackbird nest – 3 gaping babies were precariously hanging on as the nest teetered half upside down. We returned the nest to its little hiding place in what was left of the clippings, which were then left until after breeding season. We spent many moments watching through the toilet window as the babies grew up and learnt to fly. We still have a resident pair. Would they be descended from the original pair in my ceiling? I love their foraging and fluttering. I wake in the morning to the enthusiastic rustling sounds in the dry ivy leaves, or the clatter of an adult as it washes in the old baking dish that once served as a dog’s drinking bowl. A friend gets cross about the mess they make of her decorative shell mulch and jokes about the way they “trash the joint”, but my garden is not as neat and orderly so it merely causes amusement. Mind you, I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t have to keep returning fresh mulch to the veg patch though. As for their song, I must confess that although I love listening to the sounds of the neighbourhood birds, and enjoy watching their antics, I’ve never noticed the male’s song. I’m sure he’s been singing, but…pearls before swine. I can’t wait till next spring so I can listen out for it!
I enjoyed reading your post Deb. I live at Aberfoyle Park and have been an avid watcher of birds in my garden for years, the blackbirds being my favourite. We had a mum and dad blackbird build a nest in a vine right outside of our front door……awkward!! We watched them raise two lots of chicks and boy do the parents work hard. The babies managed to survive my daughters very noisy 18th birthday party, with the front door slamming all night long (when I didn’t manage to rush and stop it) and music, that’s what they tell me, blaring. I was so worried it would scare them off! Another little story, is of my sister, who recently adopted an orphan blackbird fledgling, keeping it in a small aviary and feeding it constantly. After awhile it was able to feed itself from morsels hidden in the cage. A couple of weeks later another orphaned fledgling was adopted and put into the same aviary. Would you believe it but the first baby began to feed the new one by picking up the left out morsels and shoving them into the baby’s mouth! I love them and don’t mind them messing up my mulch, that’s what I have a broom for!
Yesterday early morning was the first time I have heard blackbirds for many months, and this morning they were singing again and busy rattling around in the bushes. They seem to be around for several months each year, then vanish. I read that blackbirds do not migrate, but in that case – where do they disappear to each year, do you know? (I’m on Kangaroo Island)
I’ve enjoyed watching a female blackbird building a nest in one of our trees today. She has been working on it since early this morning so I can’t wait to see if she is still working on it tomorrow and I’m looking forward to some new babies in my backyard. Bird watching is one of my biggest passions in life. I live in Tasmania and are lucky enough to live near bushland so I get to see many beautiful birds. Every dawn and dusk I go out into the garden to listen to their song. The perfect way to start and finish a day. Very relaxing. 🙂
Hello! I loved reading this article and some of the comments. I recently rescued a baby blackbird that was in out driveway. I put it in the garden for a while but the parents never returned so I now am the auntie of a little baby bird. We actually found him due to my cat, who didn’t attack but rather sat at the door and meowed for us to come and see. She stays inside most of the day and only catches bugs and spiders so I’m pretty sure she didn’t harm him. He loved meal worms and cat food, and a little bit of quail eggyolk hardboiled.where I love it is apparently illegal to release a baby blackbird back into the wild but hopefully we can look after him well. I let him out in my room every hour or so and he hopes around and sits with me.
My apologies for the spelling errors in my previous post.
Hi, it’s good to hear there are others who love blackbirds, in a country where most people seem to despise them (Australia). If gardeners observed them closely, they’re realise how useful they are with bug control. I’m in an inner city area, which is inhospitable to all but the most adaptable nonhuman creatures, like pigeons, sparrows and blackbirds. Without them we’d hear nothing except traffic and building noise. Good luck with the little bird, Kitty. The food mix sounds right! Remember earthworms, too. If in future you need to leave food out but are worried about ants, try a vegan dog or cat food (soaked if bought dry) – it’s nutrient-dense but the lack of animal content seems to make it uneappealing to ants and flies. Mine is now 2 years and never was able to fly because of her damaged wing. But she’s living in a very large, green and airy outside enclosure that other birds can access during the day – she’s now a mother to 2 chicks.
I do have another question. What should I keep the bird in? I take him out every hour or so in a safe environment to stretch but I found if I had him in a cage he would try and get out and end up hurting his beak.
Bird cages are risky – birds can get their wings caught and damage them. I would make a secure and temporary shelter outside and let him scratch in the dirt and search for food like fledgling blackbirds do – he also will want to communicate with the blackbirds in the neighbourhood. When he’s able to fly, if he’s ok and has no damaged wing or limbs, I’d let him free outside and keep an eye on him while he learns – if you could provide a safe night shelter for him that would be good. I understand the council problem, but if you have an able bodied wild bird he will want to live a wild life. I heard that blackbirds in captivity can live very long lives. It’s great that you’ve been able to protect him this far 🙂
Thank you for all your help rosemary! It seems the baby is a lot more quiet and listless now. I’m not sure f that is the change of being with me or what. He’s still eating but doesn’t make as much noise.
Hi Kitty, I hope he’s ok. When mine was little I was doing 15 minute feeds all through the day – that seems to be what the wild birds do. (I wasn’t getting much work done!) About a half teaspoon of food – my adult bird carries 7 or so mealworms or equivalent to her two chicks every 15 minutes or so. You could try soaking sultanas in water til they’re soft. I fed these to mine when she was little because I wasn’t sure whether she was getting enough liquid and this seemed a good way to hydrate her. I used a small spatula to mimic the beak. Good luck and let me know how it goes.
Once again I thank you for your help. He’s a bit better today, just more like a new baby. He seems to enjoy live food best, and even though his beak ( which was already a bit bent) is crooked he eats happily and is starting to peak for food by himself which is an improvement.
Apologies for filling this comment section with my questions but it’s even very helpful. Thank you again!
Thanks for all of your comments and questions. I do not mind at all – keep them coming I say. And thank you to everyone for being so helpful, especially recently when I haven’t been in the best of health. Thanks.
Just moved to Canberra noticed these black birds with yellow beaks which we did not have in Sydney from your blogs I assume they are blackbirds they have a melodius song in the morning which I love and they scratch around in the bark they have a habit of sitting almost like bedding down in the earth they then spread their wings it has been very hot I was wondering if this was for cooling down unusual for birds to sit on the ground I have noticed a large white cat at night prowling and before I bought the house noticed a dead bird on the groundI had sensor kight put in as very dark area of home thats when I spotted the prowling cat (with a collar)Can we buy taps for Cats I was wondering It is a Burmese but a big fella!
Thanks for your comments.
It is uncertain why many birds spread out their wings in the sun and usually on the ground. I have seen this in our garden on many occasions with magpies, wattlebirds, doves, pigeons and sparrows. It is generally thought that they are attempting to rid themselves of parasites (such as lice). For more information see
Concerning traps for cats, I’d suggest that you contact your local council. Our council rents out possum traps but I’m not sure about cat traps. They would be able to advise you on local regulations which vary from region to region.
Hi again! I just wanted to let you know my little blackbird friend is doing well two months on! We’re still not sure if it’s a he or a she but it’s doing well, eating lots of bugs (the favourite being meal worms) cat food and other things. It’s beak is still bent and it’s tail doesn’t appear to be growing right but it likes to hop around our house with me and can recognize me or my bedroom door. It also likes to splash in a birdbath outside while supervised and has been named Peewee due to it’s “I want food” call. All in all the bird seems happy and content so I think we are doing okay.
Thank you for everyone’s help!
That’s great news Kitty! Good on you for making the effort to care for the little bird.
I live at Mitchell Park and know little about birds. I’ve had a pair of blackbirds nesting for some weeks and 2 days ago saw one chick, since then, nothing of parents or baby. I put off having my bushes trimmed when I realised they were nesting. Are they likely to have another clutch soon and use the same spot? My bushes are getting out of hand!
Hi Ellie, The Blackbirds are quite likely to nest again in a few weeks once the first brood becomes independent. They are also very likely to refurbish the original nest and use it again. I would get into that pruning as soon as possible. If your pruning discourages them from nesting in the same spot they will look elsewhere for a nesting site.
Thanks Trevor, I’m glad I found your website.
A blackbird nest on the edge of our colorbond verandah has 3 babies. Perhaps due to the over 40° temperatures Adelaide has had in the last 3 days, yesterday morning we found two were covered by ants on the ground and one was missing. Of the two there, one was already dead and the other struggling.
I got rid of the ants from the one still alive and put it in a box lined with leaves and branches, and placed it under tree shade next to the water dish where the birds often play in. The baby bird was very weak and moved just a little.
After the mother bird found it and continued to feed the baby, it looked all right. At night time I was worried that rats or possums might eat the baby if it is left in the box under the trees, so I put the box under the verandah and covered it with a tin, leaving some gaps for air. That was 10 pm and the bird still opened the mouth for food when I touched the box.
At 6 am this morning I took the box to the shade again because I know blackbirds get up really early. Unfortunately the baby bird in the box was all cold and dead. I think it either died of cold (but the over night temp was 30° – 27°) because the mother was not sitting with it, or it was too hungry. I was very sad to see the mother jump into the box to feed the baby, but didn’t see any response from it …
Although it is too late now, would Trevor suggest a better way I should have used last night? Thank you.
Hi Trevor, I have an 18 month old so have not been able to read all of the above comments. We have a pair of blackbirds nesting outside our kitchen window so have been watching three babies being continuously fed over the last week or so. Unfortunately we have just had 2 days of 40 degree heat and have not seen the babies since. The parents visit the nest once a day or so, the female sitting in it for a few minutes and the male just hopping around before leaving. The birds eyes had only just opened the last time I saw them so it’s not likely they have flown away. My question is, if the babies died due to the heat, should we remove them from the nest so they can start again or will they take care of it themselves? I have noticed another light brown bird with a spotted breast investigating the nest – could he be looking to take over? Thanks in advance for any advice!
I have a male/female blackbird combo here in Queanbeyan. They have nested up in the Hakea which has unfortunately been taken over by the neighbour’s Potato Vine. The vibe doesn’t impact on the best per se, but the weight of it may be stabilising branches, which makes me reluctant to get it removed. Sadly, I need to remove it because it is placing a lit of weight on my pergola roof, and the polycarbonate sheets are cracking. Is there a safe time to do this work? The arborist us very aware of the nest, but reluctant to do any work that may disturb it if it is active. I haven’t seen them for a couple of weeks, so do they fly elsewhere at this time of year, or are they just laying low from the heat?
Love your blog. This is the first year we have been blessed with nesting birds. We don’t know a lot about birds and after a bit of searching found out it was blackbirds. They have chosen a strange spot for the nest, under an eave right above a swinging outwards door to our entertainment room. To start with they were very timid flying out of the nest every time we opened the door. The first nesting produced 3 babies and just over one week after the babies left the nest she was nesting again. We now have 3 more babies there and this time the mother and sometimes father stay in the nest when we move in and out of the room right under them. They will even fly in and out of the nest when we are standing about 1 metre away.
We also have a cat who appears to be protective of these birds and especially the first set of babies when they left the nest and went into 2 trees in our backyard. Now both the mum and dad tell our cat off when he is sitting under our verandah and they get within under a metre away from him. He either just looks at them or tries to ignore them. It is quite amusing to watch albeit a bit noisy.
We are in Parafield Gardens, SA.
Thanks for your delightful account of the birds in your garden. I love hearing the song of the blackbird in our garden but our birds rarely come very close to the house.
Hi Trevor, great massive Blackbird thread!
thought I would add our Blackbird experience for your consideration.
We have a med sized block in Kensington, (Adelaide) so I have a bit of garden surrounding the old villa. We have two cats, which live entirely inside with the amenity of a professionally built, fully netted enclosure on one side of the house from verandah to fence.
The honeyeaters wre the first to find a way into the enclosure, by dropping through the ceiling netting which has slightly larger grid than the wall netting, to get to the citrus trees inside. Always faster than the onecat who has any real hunting ability. Thier other advantage is that cat is deaf..so if he doesn’t see them he doesn’t know they are there.
Then the resident pair of blackbirds learnt the same trick.. For them the strip garden along the fence and the mulched area around the compost bins are a rich source of forage. Also faster than the cats.. And they also enter and exit at speed despite the bird seeming too large for the net.
The enclosure has vine growing over it.. It is trained underneath on wires, and grows up through the net.
Honeyeaters chose to nest in the vine above the net. Raised a chick, then moved to the bamboo for the next round.
This summer the blackbirds have build a nest in the vine IN the enclosure, UNDER the net. They fledged one enormous chick just before Xmas and to our delight have gone another round with two, possibly three, hungry chicks being fed as I type.
We were worried how the baby might get out safely, but we actually saw it fledge over a weekend.. It was encouraged out of the nest , to hop around the branches, then encouraged up through the net. We have seen it in the rest of the garden with its parents several times.
Mrs B doesn’t worry even when I am watering right under her. Previous behaviour for the blackbirds, the honeyeaters and even the wattle birds is to nag me in the garden for the rain wave sprinkler then enjoy the ‘rain’. It’s not just Aussie humans that like running under the sprinkler in the hot..
This year the rosellas have the small hole in an old pepper tree, and the lorikeets had the large hole in the same tree, and we’re both successful.
The rest of the garden is not cat free, and there are definitely cat, rats, foxes, as well as possum and the annual koala, using it at times, but the complexity of the cat enclosure and the presence of the cats seems to keep the (nonresident) predators away from it .
In a highly artificial urban environment, we would all prefer if native species could thrive, but sometimes the imports are better suited to holding a niche. Compared to mynahs, the blackbirds seem to be a lesser of two evils.. And lorikeets have proved to be pretty dominating over the smaller rosella..
Happy bird encounter, all..
Thank you for your wonderful story. I thought that it needed a much wider readership that just here, so I have quoted your account of the birds in your garden in a new article which appeared on my site a few minutes ago
I hope you don’t mind. I also took the liberty of doing a little editing – correcting a few typos and so on.
No problem at all. Thankyou.
My ancient iPad is a pain when it comes to spelling and grammer, so a thorough edit was well in order. 🙂
Hope the stormfront last night wasn’t too severe in your area. Each of these weather events have been very random in how hard they hit any given suburb.
We only had the initial wind. For that we are thankful, but sadly Mrs B lost one chick out of the nest.. She was trying to warm it on the ground this morning but the cold and wet (and probably the fall) had already killed it.
The cats hadn’t done anything with it and didn’t bother her..
Won’t know until the weekend if she lost all of them to the weather as both her and Mr B are still fussing with the nest.
As you said to Rhonda… nature in the raw..
Hi Trevor, I have enjoyed reading the posts written by all the fantastic people who love wild birds, and have learnt a lot aboout the Blackbirds from your page. We were recently honoured by a Blackbird couple who decided to nest under our back verandah. We watched them care for their 4 babies and Mummy Blackbird seemed to get used to us coming and going, unlike the Daddy who seemed a bit more wary. One afternoon when I was watering the garden I noticed a mostly black feather with a streak of white on it near the back verandah steps, and I was concerned that a Currawong had been snooping about. The parents were still tending the nest so we thought all was still well, as the babies we could see (at least 2) were getting big and moving about in the nest. Then disaster struck. We heard a lot of birds screaching and ran out the back to find the Grim Reaper Currawong with a baby in his clutches and the parent Blackbirds hot on it’s tail. I raced after them only to find the Currawong landed and pecking at the baby. I managed to shoo the Currawong away, but the little baby died in my hand. We put her in a cardboard box and buried her in the garden. We checked the nest and found that there were no babies left, we scoured the garden area beneath the nest, as the baby I tried to save was feathered and had a stump of a tail, so we thought they must be at fledgling stage. But, we found nothing. We saw Daddy Blackbird return a few times but then nothing. The Currawong must have been taking a baby every so often, but the Parents still did not abandon the nest. We thought no way would Mummy Blackbird use the same nest, but this morning ( it’s been about 2 weeks after the Grim Reaper raid) when I went out the back door, there she was! My heart smiled! We are thinking of ways we can try to help/protect this next clutch of babies, and thought we could sit outside on the verandah on guard duty each day until they learnt to fly. We know, from your page, we are in for a bit of a long haul, but we were so distressed when the first clutch of babies were taken, that we promised then that if they nested in our back yard again, that we would do our best for them. Is there any way you know to deter the Currawongs and other such birds? We are hoping that the Currawongs nesting is finished, but I suppose that they could still take the babies for their own food. Any ideas? Thank you. Rhonda x
It is always quite confronting and distressing when one is faced with nature in the raw like you have experienced. This is no comfort to you, but this is how nature works. The death of the little blackbirds means the survival of the currawong, and possibly the young currawongs. It is sad – but this is the way of nature.
For this reason, many of the smaller birds like Willie wagtails honeyeaters, finches and wrens, will have two or three broods every breeding season. Out of perhaps 9 – 12 eggs laid in a season, perhaps 1 or 2 will survive to adulthood. That is a shocking statistic, but quite realistic.
It’s a wild, dangerous world out there. I know of no practical means of protecting the nest, the chicks or the fledgelings from predators such as currawongs, ravens, magpies, hawks, lizards and snakes. If any readers can make suggestions, please do so.
[…] 11 years ago, I wrote a simple little article on this blog about Common Blackbirds (click to […]
Thanks Trevor, hopefully there will be some survivors from this brood. The Currawongs don’t seem to be about as much lately, but the Ravens and Crows have started to appear. The statistics are terrible, but as you say, it is the way nature works, but we still hope we can keep the Grim Reapers at bay this time. I shall keep you updated.
Thanks. Rhonda ~ The Dandenong Ranges.
Hi Trevor, Just thought I would let you know how our Blackbirds 2nd brood got along. She had 3 eggs and we watched as they hatched and grew to fledglings. As we have a craft room downstairs we could check on them quite often. Then one day I was sure they would flutter out of the nest for sure, but no. But, the next morning they did. We had a bucket of water about 6ft away from the nest and the first one down managed to plop right into it! My hubby was downstairs at the time and heard the fluttering and raced out and plucked the little one out, he shoutedf for me to come downstairs and when I got there, the little one was quite contently sitting perched on his finger. “What shall I do?” He asked, I told him to put it down near the garden bed. Once there it disappeared into the bushes. I then went out into the back yard and tried to keep still and just watch. The first little fledgling raced along the edge of the garden bed and then flew off into the neighbours garden where the parent Blackbirds where calling. The 2nd fledgling fluttered down and then flew straight to the parents. The 3rd was not so game and fluttered around on the edge of the nest for quite a while, chirpping a lot, but then popped back into the nest. Finally s/he fluttered down and flew over to the parents. I could see the parents feeding the little fledglings. There was not a lot more we could do, so we went on inside. Unfortunately about 20 minutes later he again heard the parents screeching, we raced out only to see a Currawong with one of the babies dangling from his beak and the parent Blackbirds swooping. We did hear more later, but could see nothing. About an hour to so later I went out into the backyard again and tried to see if I could spot anything, I did see the Father Blackbird scratching around on the ground in our neighbours garden, and then I spotted something scurry into the bushes-it was one of the fledglings! We are hopeful that at least one may have survived. It has been over two weeks now and the Female Blackbirds has not been back to the nest. I have only seen the Male scratching around the garden a couple of times, but have not seen the Female at all, nor have we heard the Blackbirds singing. Do Blackbirds migrate elsewhere? I thought they may as up here in the Dandenong Ranges it is cooler than lower in the suburbs. Maybe we will see them again next year. Thanks for your help. Rhonda.
Have been trying for over a couple of weeks, to identify two birds who have recently turned up, in our garden. Thanks to your blog they have now been identified as common blackbirds. Yes, they are doing the spreading the mulch thing!! We are near Tenterfield and after reading many of your letters I was amazed to read that they have been sighted in Moree and Tenterfield. We have never seen them before but I believe Stanthorpe and Toowoomba are concerned due to these areas being a big part of our food bowl.
Hi, just sharing, I live in Port Lincoln in South Australia and I have a pet female blackbird.
Her name is Archimedes, she is the most adorable little girl ever. She’s about 5 months old.
We feed her the Wambaroo insectavore rearing mix, mushed with boiled egg.
She gets millworms often, these are her absolute favorite!, we potter around and gather any bugs from around our yard we can, butterfly’s, Slater bugs, garden worms, ants everything and anything!.
Those little yellow fruit things that fall from datepalm trees, she loves. We seen a little female blackbird eating one and turns out she really enjoys them.
We really love her very much 🙂
I live in Geelong and for a number of yrs have had a female blackbird living in the back garden.I dont think during that time it has been able to have a successful birth as I have never seen chicks and last year saw that a nest it had quickly built in a 2 metre cabrrnet cordyline had abandoned eggs.. This last couple of weeks I have been observing it nesting right outdide my kitchen window in another large cordyline and thst there were 4 eggs. After a about a week I observed that she and her mate were acting differently tsking turns each sitting in thr nest and what appesred to be feeding behaviour.. I was able to get a very bad phone photo and could see some pink in the nestwith two remaining eggs. Last night I was working on thr roof and went indrs about 10 pm. The bird was on the nest then. At 7 am I looked out the window and no bird was visibleon examination I discovered the nest entirely empty with no apparent damage..The nest is about a metre above the garden bed and in among the fronds of the plant.. I wouldn’t have considered a cat could have climbed into this position and hsve never seen a snake in 10 yrs.Could a rat kill and eat a mature bird.. Later in the day I spotted the male amd I may have been projecting my own confusion and dismay but it seemed that it was looking for its mate. I realise I am anthropomorphising but I wish I could do a crime scene analysis,discover the culprit and deal with the crime.. I have never seen another female so wonder what happens now with the male..For those whinging about natives being deprived I have sparrows,a couple of pigeons,wattle birds,a couple of maggies,honeyeaters,silver eyes which come and go and also starlings and unfortunately 2 or 3 mynas all of which of partake of the food and water and have to share.I discourage bullying and dont feed so regularly thaththry rely on my provision.I just have to tap on the window for the mynas to back off while others remain eating.
Hi Trevor I have blackbirds nesting in my garage the back is open to the elements they have been here for three years this being the third, they have had 3 lots of babies this. Year and now the female is on the nest again, is this normal? I don’t remember them nesting this late before.
The male comes to my kitchen window every morning sings, and waits for cheese, he watches me go to the fridge and then flys to the door to wait for the cheese, he flys down, but doesn’t take it from me, but will eat at my feet, some days I can call him, by making a kissing noice with my lips. And he has actually flown in my kitchen window when it was open and sat on my bench waiting for the cheese. Eats then flys out again.