The sixth candidate in the Vote National Bird Campaign is the Blackbird. Below, Nature's Home editor, Mark Ward, tells you why you should vote for the bird with the perhaps the most mellifluous song.
I had the most marvellous start to the day today. I pulled back the kitchen curtains and the first things I saw were four blackbirds bouncing across the lawn.
A glossy male made its move, a hop to the left and a tilt of its head. Its mate responded with a bound to the right and a dip of its tail. Pair number two took their turn, returning the compliment. I was watching an avian game of chess and I smiled.
That’s why you should vote blackbird– for no other reason than it being the bird that makes you smile. And who doesn’t need more smiles in their life? Whether you live in town or city, you don’t have to look hard to share some precious time with a blackbird.
The blackbird made me late last week. On Thursday, I travelled to Dorset’s heaths for a date with rare reptiles, but my 5am departure was delayed. That most intense of dawn choruses, the one you only experience from being up this early, seduced my senses as I stepped outside. There were probably three males singing, but it sounded like 30. I immersed myself in it, costing me valuable “Dorset time”. I didn’t grudge a minute of it.
Woodlark, nightingale and song thrush are oft quoted stars of the songbird show, but the blackbird’s easily-heard tune takes top spot for me. The intensity of the dawn fanfare is followed, as the sun sets, by the gentler pace of the evening show – a soothing lullaby to send you to sleep and ease away all your worries.
Soon, that sharp, squeaky call from within a bush will announce the arrival of this summer’s brigade of youngsters. What more cheering summer sight than a blackbird feeding its brood of begging babies with a beak full of juicy worms?
Vote for your favourite neighbour. Vote blackbird - and smile.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654