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Old Thursday 5th September 2013, 20:15   #1
Sarabesh
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Question Blackbirds Driving me Crazy! Insight please

Would love any insight into what has been driving me mad for months now. I love birds, they're great and I really want to learn more about them. I have always been a fan of the blackbird's usual melodic chirping. My mum always had bird boxes, baths and loads of feeders scattered around her garden so I grew up surrounded by the euphonious tones of a multitude of birds from am to pm.
This however is different. Since around May there have been two blackbirds in my back garden (one male, one female) who just sound their alarm call from when the sun comes up (later now but so early midsummer) till when the sun goes down or just after. Midsummer it would go on until about 10pm. Tonight it was just around 8pm. It is definately an alarm call they are both projecting. It is harsh, repetive (it never changes tone/pitch), continuous and oh so loud. Especially when the two of them are going at it at the same time which is most of the time. I live in an old tenament building with many different gardens in the back. The blackbirds just stick to my garden. I'm fairly sure they have a nest well disguised in a thick and bushy bush. So at first I just thought that they were defending their nest. I would very occasionally spot a magpie and think that they were justified in spotting danger and just doing what came naturally. But this has gone on every single day without fail, am to pm without stopping. When do they have time to eat/drink/feed their young? They will just flit from bush to wall to wall sounding their alarm call and as far as I can see there is usually no danger in sight. And surely by now their young have flown the nest? It has been over 4 months and they show no signs of stopping.
They must be extremely distressed and I just don't know why or if there is anything I can do.
Any advice/help/information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
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Old Friday 4th July 2014, 14:47   #2
Sarabesh
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Over the winter the constant alarm call ceased. However about a month ago it started again! Must be the same two birds. The alarm call is again constant. Early am to late pm with barely a break. Again no obvious signs of danger around. Haven't managed to spot a nest. Any ideas what is going on??
I've lived in the same house for about 8 years. Lots of birds in that time. Nothing like this. The blackbird alarm calls started last spring, continued (about 15 hours a day) until about October. This is surely unusual. What's going on???
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Old Friday 4th July 2014, 16:09   #3
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Don't know, but usually this would suggest a resident cat. Blackbirds do of course sound their alarm late in the day till dark in winter, but I don't even know why that is either.
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Old Friday 4th July 2014, 17:03   #4
ChrisKten
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IME, the Alarms are for any potential threat. In the breeding season, any Corvid that gets near is scolded, and the alarm call is continuous while the Corvid remains.

I heard a constant alarm a few weeks ago, and saw a Crow on the fence; the Crow was looking towards a bush that held the Blackbird's nest. The Blackbird kept swooping low at the Crow, forcing the Crow to duck and try to peck the Blackbird as it passed. This carried on for ages (more than an hour), and I kept checking to see if the Crow was still there, and it was.

Eventually the alarm got more insistent, sort of panicky; this time when I looked out I saw the Crow with a Blackbird chick in it's bill. The Blackbird stopped the alarm call soon after chasing after the Crow as it flew off with the chick.

A little while later the whole process was repeated with a Jay, but this time no chick taken. Later still, another Crow showed up, and the swooping and alarms continued.

As long as the threat remained, the Blackbird sounded the alarm and/or tried to deter the predator. So if there's any predator/scavenger nearby, even a Cat sleeping under a bush, the alarm will continue
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Old Friday 4th July 2014, 22:56   #5
KenM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarabesh View Post
Would love any insight into what has been driving me mad for months now. I love birds, they're great and I really want to learn more about them. I have always been a fan of the blackbird's usual melodic chirping. My mum always had bird boxes, baths and loads of feeders scattered around her garden so I grew up surrounded by the euphonious tones of a multitude of birds from am to pm.
This however is different. Since around May there have been two blackbirds in my back garden (one male, one female) who just sound their alarm call from when the sun comes up (later now but so early midsummer) till when the sun goes down or just after. Midsummer it would go on until about 10pm. Tonight it was just around 8pm. It is definately an alarm call they are both projecting. It is harsh, repetive (it never changes tone/pitch), continuous and oh so loud. Especially when the two of them are going at it at the same time which is most of the time. I live in an old tenament building with many different gardens in the back. The blackbirds just stick to my garden. I'm fairly sure they have a nest well disguised in a thick and bushy bush. So at first I just thought that they were defending their nest. I would very occasionally spot a magpie and think that they were justified in spotting danger and just doing what came naturally. But this has gone on every single day without fail, am to pm without stopping. When do they have time to eat/drink/feed their young? They will just flit from bush to wall to wall sounding their alarm call and as far as I can see there is usually no danger in sight. And surely by now their young have flown the nest? It has been over 4 months and they show no signs of stopping.
They must be extremely distressed and I just don't know why or if there is anything I can do.
Any advice/help/information would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
The situation you describe with Blackbirds scolding repetitively, might be due to you having a roosting Tawny Owl in your garden? I have the same problem with a Tawny that alternates roosting between both sides of the garden, a dense conifer one side, and dense holly/Ivy/Hawthorn the other. The constant scolding during the day, might well fit with a roosting owl that you wouldn't see, as they are certainly not moved by Blackbirds alone!
In my case, even when the Corvids join in...Magpies, Jays and Carrion Crow (several of each), all venting their fury! rarely succeed in displacing the ''offender''....just a thought?

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