Monday, 26 October 2015

Wild About Gardens Week - The Blackbird and the Berries

The blackbird has claimed his territory. I frequently hear his insistent alarm calls and disgruntled clucks as he attempts to defend his patch from incomers. He sits in my neighbours’ garden trees, usually the weeping silver pear or the whippy twig-branches of the papery birch, now that the dead oak sapling has been felled, and often looks like he is about to burst into song although we will not hear his melodic voice again until the spring.

I think I know why the blackbird is here, why he has chosen to spend his time in this specific area of my garden and the overlooking trees. Halfway along the adjoining fence is a thick, thorny pyracantha bush a ‘firethorn’ which this year is more than living up to it’s name. It is noticeable that the hedgerows in the winder countryside are particularly splendid with berries this autumn, and my garden pyracantha is no exception. A mass of bright fiery orange berries obscures the thorns and dark glossy evergreen leaves.

The blackbird knows the berries are here and has stationed himself in perfect position to make the most of this food source once the cold weather comes. He has some competition however; clumsy plumb-breasted wood pigeons have already been balancing their large bulks in the top of the bush, stuffing their crops with the colourful fruits. On the opposite end of the spectrum to the greedy pigeons is the flighty robin, only this morning he was seen perching on the fence and flying in to hover, pick off a berry, and return to his perch to eat it.

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