Blackbird - Female seen taking live voles twice

Hi evetuonr

We are right in the midlife of the busy nesting and feeding season. I’m lucky enough to live on the edge of woodlands so am privileged to see so many different birds here in my garden. I am watching avidly and on patrol as the Great Tits have recently fledged their nesting box which I located just under the eaves of my wooden summerhouse. Magpies are doing their rounds along with the crows  

Imagine my surprise and somewhat horror when a plump female blackbird nabbed a live vole from under the hedge where the seeds fall from the bird feeders. I couldn’t believe my eyes watching her swooping away flying low with the weighty catch. Is this normal behaviour for a Blackbird? I thought this just be a one off bizarre event but nope - she came back and promptly caught number two vole. 

Can someone please enlighten me and tell me what is going on? Also if she enjoys flesh will she take the young fledglings?

I am baffled .....  

  • Someone posted a relatively similar thing a couple of years ago. Sorry, but this post has similar issues.

    Firstly, how are you identifying the voles? Secondly, how is the blackbird catching the vole & taking it away?
  • I have voles here in the hedgetow bank and I know what voles look like. I’ve lived here long enough. They scurry along the bank picking up fallen bird seeds. Shorter tails than mice and funny little faces. The blackbird caught the vole and flew away with it flying directly past my viewing point. The vole was obviously heavy for her to carry as she was flying low landing in bramble shrub. The male blackbird was nearby.
  • How is the blackbird catching the vole & taking it away?
  • Thanks Alan. Yes, I've seen that previously. Has quite a few flaws too. Obviously, common shrews (assuming that is what was believed to have been seen and written about) are quite a bit lighter than bank voles. They also forage a lot during the day. Bank voles can be active during the day, but would be fool hardy to be out for long periods, in a bird feeding area. Bank voles are also territorial. I've never seen two in the same place. I get them here in the compost at the very end of the garden (always one on its own) and used to get them on the patio and near the house til the cats wiped out most of them. Always been solitary.

    The article also refers to records over a 50 year period. Modern science is more reliable than word and mouth. If unusual events happen in science, eventually they get recorded properly. The article doesn't explain how a shrew fits down a blackbird chick's throat, let alone a birdseed fed bank vole.

    Unless Birdsong can explain how the blackbird caught the voles and took them away, I find it a struggle to imagine. The previous person to post something similar to this said the blackbird carried the mouse away in its talons.

    It is impossible to answer, "what is going on?", which was written in the opening section of this thread if details like how the vole was caught and how it was taken away are answered.