Bye bye blackbird

Hi All,

  I record the visitors to my garden, until recently, daily. Blackbirds are visiting for the sultanas every day. Tomorrow is a very important date. The 1st of August.

  On the 31st of July every year, for the last seven years (when I started recording bird visitors), blackies were in abundance. The dawn Corus was dwindling but they were still here. In my garden that is.

   On the 1st of August, to the day, every single year, they stopped attending and would not be seen until the spring. Not one. Nil, zilch, zero. Is this usual? Has anyone else experienced this?

   Does the black cap appear the same time every year? If you get more than one black cap per year you are blessed.

   On a particular day do the dissimulation of long tail tits appear?

   Have you heard the cuckoo on the same day every year? Or the last time you heard it, on the same day every year? Mind you I have not heard a cuckoo for three years.

   I am very interested in this (unusual?) phenomena?

   Do you fancy a date? Did you have special "bird" dates? Please reply even if it is a negative.

Toodle pip.


  • Sorry no one replied to your prev post this morning. 're blackbirds, loads here eating the berries. They will mostly disappear any day now as you say. Moulting. Always get plenty back for Winter though. Again, they come for fruit. Cotoneaster etc.
    're blackcap, saw one about three hours ago. A juvenile that had found the raspberries. Get quite a few each year. Four in one go last Aug. They like elderberries, so if you want more than one at a time and have the space, I recommend elder (not ground elder though!).
    I usually get the odd willow warbler in Aug and common whitethroat. Already had one of the latter this week. Not a garden bird really, but they breed just up the lane. Neither arrive on particular days though.....just on sunny days maybe.
  • Hi Robbo,
    Great reply. I am glad somebody else has observed this behaviour. Can you please confirm that you have blackbirds coming back to your garden in the winter? I know that some blackies go abroad, like I should, for the winter. I have never seen one until they start to appear in March.
    I am well jel' that you have more than one black cap. Perhaps you are more rural. I am semi rural with farmland eastward about 400 metres and northward about a mile away.
    There would be a clatter if I saw a Willow Warbler or a Peggy Whitethroat as I fall off my stool!
    I need to go to particular nature reserve soon as I am sure that Siskins arrive in the next few weeks.

    Best regards,

  • Yes, most will be migrants in Winter, but there are always blackbirds here. Live on the edge of a largeish village.
  • Hooky, I would bd surprised if any garden in England does not have Blackbirds all year round with many of us getting winter visiting Blackbirds starting late November depending on the weather on parts of the continent Blackcap behaviour can vary as in recent times the males have been over wintering and even females are starting to over winter on their breeding territory so some figures given in books may be out dated. You may find some useful information on the BTO web site


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • .....almost right on queue, two willow warblers picking black fly off the Himalayan balsam plants in the garden. (plant not recommended unless you have plenty of weeding time to spare).
  • In reply to Hooky:

    Blackbirds all year here Hooky, in an urban environment. Perhaps because I feed them. Sunflower seeds (no husk), bread, suet, peanuts, and a constant watch to keep off Magpies, Wood pigeons, squirrels etc. Yet need to ensure it’s all eaten so rats don’t get it. Not easy but very worthwhile.
  • In reply to BathBaby:

    Hi BathBaby,
    Thank you for contributing to this thread.
    Great to hear you have a variety of wildlife. I would be willing to bet that the squirrels are the American Grey Squirrel. If you have red ones I would, as the kids say, be "well jel'".

    My visiting wood pigeons have, without consulting me, invited their renegade feral cousins who have no manners or fear. Magpies are thieves. Heard the song "The Thieving Magpie"? I have an idea that it is an opera.

    Mind you I should always remember that they are all God's creatures no matter how one feels about them.

    I also feed during the winter but there are no blackbirds visiting. Having said, which is always the way, that they disappear at the end of July this year they have not. I have noticed more fledglings this year than in previous ones and I am putting it down to that. Arguing against myself would suggest that the more young blackbirds there are then the more the pressure is for territory so they should all be gone by now (from my garden and not from other locations).

    I am pretty sure some have had two families. Will more migrate this year?

    This has me thinking of blackbird migration. I do know that they migrate but how many? Ten per cent? Twenty? Fifty?
    There is not any information on this. Unless you know differently.

    Kind regards,

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Hi Pete,
    Brilliant! Straight to the heart of the matter. I have not had a blackbird here from the 1st of August until Late Feb' early March. Except this year. Please see my reply to BathBaby.
    Be vigilant.

    Kind regards,

  • In reply to Seaman:

    Hi Seaman,
    I have never heard of blackbirds coming here rather than going there.

    Kind regards,

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Hi Robbo
    I have never seen a willow warbler Robbo. I'm off to find a picture of one just in case I have without realizing it.

    Toodle pip.