Hush, Hush, Song Thrush

The one about the baby Song Thrush in the garden

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On Saturday after the usual swim lesson and cafe routine in the village, with my six year yr old I spent a warm afternoon in the garden planting up some pots for summer colour. My wife bought the bedding plants of her choice a couple of weeks ago, so it was high time I got them planted.

With my hands in potting compost all afternoon I forgot to take any photographs during the daytime. That is, aside from a quick snap of a blackbird, apparently sunbathing on the footpath as we came home from our cafe brunch. I assume this behaviour is to dispel parasites like mites in the bird’s feathers, as its black plumage in the strong late morning sun would become hot. The blackbird was mouth agape as if panting.

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I should point out that I’m peat- free by the way. My choice of peat-free compost is called New Horizon by JABowers and does the job ok. I refuse to buy any with peat in and it bothers me that so many garden centres are content to peddle the stuff, with so little information displayed about peat alternatives, given the destruction caused by extracting peat from ancient wetlands. Maybe that should be a topic for another post. Peat should stay in the ground.

Anyway, to the title of this post. All afternoon I had been hearing birdsong and watching busy blackbirds and blue tits etc flying back and forth with food in their beaks for hungry chicks. In particular there was a low ‘shoop shoop shoop’ sound coming from the bushes of next door’s garden. Now I should mention that we are extremely fortunate to support Song Thushes in our neighbourhood and without fail morning and evening a fluty song of repeating phrases is heard from a territorial male, usually atop the telegraph pole beyond the back garden.

As dusk was drawing in the shoop sound was louder and closer, and inspecting further I found the Song Thrush chick from which this call was emanating. It was perched on the fence between us and the aforementioned neighbour, down the side of our garden shed. Using the shed for cover, I peeped round the camera lens of my phone to sneak a picture or two without causing it distress.

We have numerous cats in our neighbourhood. One of them at least chooses to toilet itself in our beds and borders, preferring a freshly prepared tilth of a seed bed, much to my annoyance. It would annoy me even more if a cat got this beautiful Song Thrush chick, so I hoped it remained on the fence and stayed vigilant for danger. The  contact calls it made at regular intervals are no doubt to alert its location to its parent, but I rather hoped it would stay quiet lest it draw feline attention.

Author: Tim Burkinshaw

I work in ecology and biodiversity in North Yorkshire. I'm often found outdoors snapping nature and landscapes or spotting birds. Always aspiring to be a better naturalist, but I have a particular thing for wetlands. As a gardener I enjoy having my hands in the earth, and getting the perfect mix of greens and browns in my compost! As a Daddy I'm somewhere between pretty good and awesome. On a good day. If you spot me and my hat in real life or on social media do say hello!

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