Friday, 2 March 2012

Back in Black(birds)

Spring has arrived, and taken up residence in our log pile -

Well, a pair of blackbirds (Turdus merula) have. And they've built a nest -

I always feel perversely proud when a bird chooses somewhere in our yard to nest and raise chicks. It raises the status of my unkempt garden and overgrown hedge to 'habitat'.

And I never get tired of watching a pair of wild birds rear their offspring. A common garden bird maybe, but the biology of pairing up, building a nest, laying and tending eggs, feeding offspring, which then fledge and go on to form their own breeding pairs next year, is extraordinary to me.

Expect update posts, if I can do so without disturbing the birds. I hope you like baby pictures.


SavvyChristine said...

I feel proud too! I don't have a hedge or a garden, but I do have two cardinals living in the bush between mine and my neighbor's house. Somehow, having the wild ones living so near elevates my "surviving" to "living with nature." I can't wait for it to become more true.

Maria said...

oh we do :) especially baby bird pictures.

I know what you mean about nesting birds - I used to love spotting the nesting swallows at my grandparents' in summer.

Janice Bendixen said...

Jenn I agree. Out at Basin Creek where I grew up(placer mine 15 miles north of Nome), in the "spring" (translate early June), the robins wd decide it was imperative to nest on whatever piece of equipment Dad had parked in front of the shop for repairs. Obviously not a good match. He'd remove the nest gently and place somewhere more discreet. Mother wd rebuild. Cycle wd repeat. Finally, one year when he saw hatchlings instead of beautiful eggs, he gave up and decided he had no urgent need for that particular grader.

Jennifer Montero said...

From Paula @ Weeding for Godot (one of my favourite blogs, in both name and content):

"I would love to have a bird's nest where I could see it. There is a particular bird around here whose gutsy twitter reminds me of being at my grandmother's house (well, trailer, actually) in the summertime. When I was a kid I would spend a week at a time with Grammy, whose kitchen was on the front end of the trailer. She had this incredibly tacky and faded hanging basket made of plastic flowers hanging off the front of the trailer, so the basket itself was right outside the kitchen window, which she'd leave open. And every year, these birds would nest in that basket and chatter vociferously to each other, stuff like, "what are you feeding them? where did you get that? how long before you think they fledge? how are we going to pay for college?"...stuff like that, and it was really happy sound then and it's a happier sound now to me.

Janice Bendixen said...

I couldn't find a way to msg you so am posting as a comment. There's a wonderful article about Lance Mackey at

Other good source is

Let the Iditamania begin!

Janice Bendixen said...

Some questions from across the Pond. Why do you call rutabagas swedes? Since I'm half Svenska, I'm really hoping it doesn't have anything to do with shape.... And what is hedgerow jelly? It sounds curious but pretty. Do tell please

Jennifer Montero said...

Janice - I asked Brits why they're called swedes but no one seems to know. I like the idea of calling them 'Svenskas' instead. Root vegetables suffer from a lack of glamour.

Hedgerow jelly is my own name for a jelly made from a combination of free fruits from the hedgerows - usually blackberries, sloes, bullaces, occasionally cherry plums and damsons - mixed with windfall cooking apples or crab apples. Apples guarantee pectin, and everything else just gives the jelly a 'berry' flavour. It's a staple condiment in our house, for toast or ice cream.