Blackbird behaviour

Hi. I hope I'm in the right place here, as I've never posted. I was just looking out of my window and noticed two blackbirds near the bowl of mealworms that I put out for them. I'm not a knowledgeable bird watcher so forgive me for my ignorance, but I found this behaviour unusual and cannot find an answer on the Internet. The male blackbird was feeding from the bowl and the other bird (I'm assuming it was also a blackbird but it was a large brown one - female? young adult?) was standing by its side. Every so often the male would turn to the other bird and feed it. Is this usual, and can anyone explain why this was happening? Thanks.

  • Hi Anne, no apology needed for any ignorance, we all have to learn! From what you are saying I would say this is a baby being fed. Does the brown one have a speckled chest, the new babies do.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Hi Anne, there are two possibilities here. As Catlady has suggested it might be a youngster being fed by its Dad. It's quite early to see young Blackbirds around although not impossible. Without seeing the bird it's difficult to say. They usually follow the parent around begging to be fed.

    The other possibility is what's known as courtship feeding. This is where the male will offer food to the female as a form of bonding. This can be to impress the female that he's a good potential Dad. Robins will often do this.

    As Catlady has said young Blackbirds are very speckled. Not the greatest photo but this shows a male feeding its youngster.

    Not sure which of the two scenarios apply in this case. Hope this helps.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • I got that one right Tony, well half right depending if it is a baby!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Thank you. Yes, the brown one did have a speckled chest. I did look it up and thought it might be a youngster, but I thought it was too early for a young bird. I did try and photograph it but the brown one had disappeared into the bushes by the time I got my camera out! Interestingly, even though it hid in the bushes, the male helped itself to the worms and hopped across the lawn into the bush where I assumed it fed the youngster, then came back time and time again. I absolutely loved watching them!
  • From what you've said, Anne, it does sound more likely that it's a youngster being fed. Blackbirds are early nesters so perfectly possible. It's a great time of year with new life coming into the world.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • Thank you! Really interesting. I shall keep watching and see if they appear again...and this time perhaps my camera might be near!
  • Last year, I had 2 Blackbird fledglings suddenly arrive in the garden in mid April and we didn't have the late snow this year, so I'm not too surprised some have shown up. The youngsters will move around the garden and maybe the neighbours, too, but you can watch where the male goes to see where they are and as they grow up they'll get bolder and show more, so you should have some good watching to come. Don't worry if the female disappears soon, as she may well leave the male to bring up the youngsters, while she goes back on the nest to produce the next lot! You may get 2 or even 3 broods over the summer.

    __________

    Nige   Flickr

  • Nigel, thank you. I'm learning so much!