A blackbird with a penchant for building nests.

The tame female blackbird, here for at least its fourth year.

The first nest was in the jasmine on the right of the pergola. Eggs were laid but the bird deserted.

The second nest was high in this ivy. No idea whether eggs were laid.

The third nest was half-way up this conifer. No idea whether eggs were laid.

The fourth nest is in this clematis. The chicks must be near to fledging.

It’s a while since I’ve written about what is happening in the garden. We’ve had a young red squirrel for the past 10 days. This is the first this year so I hope it stays. It seems very settled and feeds regularly from one of the birds’ peanut feeders. This feeder is right next to a squirrel feeder with peanuts, which would be a far easier meal than chewing parts of peanuts through the feeder mesh, but it hasn’t worked this out yet.

The tame female blackbird is now on its fourth spring here. It has had a very strange breeding season this year. It first built a nest in a pergola covered in clematis and jasmine. It laid eggs but for whatever reason deserted them. It next built a nest high up in ivy clinging to a neighbour’s house. I thought this was an ideal place as it seemed relatively safe from cats, but when it should have been brooding eggs it was regularly joining me in the garden. This was the first indication it had failed; the second indication being it gathering nest material again and building a nest quite high in a coniferous tree.

I’ve no idea whether it laid eggs there but quite soon after it was building a nest in a clematis growing up against the corner of the house. It seems to have had success this time as it and its mate have been busy feeding chicks for the past 10 days. I’ve been giving them a liberal supply of mealworms, which it only started to take in to the chicks when they were about 5 days old, looking for small earthworms and grubs instead.

It follows me around everywhere when I am gardening. It seems to recognise a spade, rake or rotovator as an indicator that food might be on the go. I’ve just been turning some compost bins and it was hopping round my feet picking up the brandling worms that abound in good compost. At one point it actually hopped on to my boot. The chicks are certainly being well fed and must be wee fatties. I’ll look forward soon to them hopping around the garden and Molly the dog and I will do our best to ensure there are no intruding felines.

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