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Watch out for… The Song Thrush

Watch out for… The Song Thrush
By Rob Gale 2 months ago

Everyone loves the song thrush—a bird with an air of intelligence about its bright black eye and jaunty demeanour. This attractive speckle-breasted bird is many people’s favourite songster, its rich repetitive voice waking us on early spring mornings. Sadly, that lovely song has been heard less and less in recent years.

A great deal of research in the past few years has focused on the decline of the song thrush. Using records from ringed birds from the mid 1970s, the British Trust for Ornithology found that fewer young birds survived their first winter, which resulted

in almost a 60% decline over 30 years. The song thrush found itself on the ‘Red List’ giving it a status of high conservation concern.

Over the last few years numbers of song thrushes in gardens have become stable—gardens seem to be excellent habitats for this bird, having shelter and nesting places amongst dense shrubs, and food for them in the form of snails and earthworms. The presence of broken snail shells around a large stone (a thrushes ‘anvil’) could indicate that your garden has a regular song thrush visiting.

Song Thrush, Bird, Grass, Path, Summer

Thrushes are early nesters, choosing a place protected from predators but with a view of what’s going on. The nest is lined with mud, which the female smooths with her breast to make a cosy place for her clutch of three or four blue eggs. She may nest two or three times in a season if the conditions are favourable.

Many birds eat fruit during the autumn and winter months and the song thrush is no exception. Apples are a favourite at this time, when invertebrate food is hard to find. Gardeners can make a huge contribution to the revival of the thrush’s fortunes by making sure that food is available over the winter, when the young birds seem to be particularly vulnerable. Leaving windfall fruit or planting a berried native hedge are ideal ways of providing natural food for them and their cousins, the redwing, mistle thrush and fieldfare.

For more information on birds we recommend a visit to www.rspb.org