Struggling after friendly blackbird needed to put to rest.

Hello I need to get this off my chest but I have nobody to talk to about it. Yesterday I had to phone the RSPCA because a blackbird (which we call Billy) who has been visiting us over the past 3 years  came to us in the morning and we immediately noticed something was wrong. His top beak was missing 3/4 of the way down. We assume he had either been attacked or flew into something by mistake. It was heartbreaking to see him trying to eat the food we put out for him but wasn’t able to pick up. Unfortunately he had to be put to sleep after the RSPCA officer took him away as he couldn’t eat anymore and would starve to death.

Me and my family have a lot of memories with him ever since he started interacting with us 3 years ago. There has barely been a day go by when he hasn’t visited. He wasn’t scared of coming close to us and would sit outside the window shouting until we gave him grapes or raisins. This past Summer he was even bringing his babies to feed with him and it was adorable. He was the sweetest bird I have ever met and now that he’s gone I feel empty. I feel guilty because in order for the RSPCA officer to come out I had to catch him first which I did by trapping him in a mesh greenhouse, then had to grab him and put him in a box. He was really frightened about what was happening and I feel like all the trust he had in me just completely vanished in that moment but I couldn’t just leave him to die slowly. I had to do it. I just wish he understood that I wasn’t doing it to attack him..

Another thing that has really got to me is that I wasn’t even aloud to have his body back because the RSPCA said over the phone that they can’t give the information out about which vet he was taken to. I really wanted to bring him home and burry him in the garden. All I have to remember him by now is a few small feathers. I can’t help wondering if the vet just gave him the injection then through him to one side as if he didn’t really matter.

I can’t stop thinking about him and all the memories from over the years and now we will never hear or see him again. I’ve been crying all day. It might sound pathetic but he really made me happy whenever I saw him. I miss him so much :’(

  • All I can say is sorry for your loss. I am sure a kind sensitive person like you will soon identify a new bird with whom you can find a close understanding.
  • Its not pathetic WL, you did the right thing but sadly you never got him back from the Vet, not sure if the RSPCA can still put animals to sleep but they did in the past because my sister worked at one and it would be an easy thing to put a bird down.
    A good cry over him is a good thing you did your best to help him thats all that matters.

    Take care and keep feeding your other little friends.



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  • Hello WL, I'm really sorry to hear about Billy; I can also empathise with your situation and what emotions you have and are still going through as we can become very attached to our regular garden birds, especially seeing them on a daily basis and getting to know their character. What I can tell you (having been in same situation) is that you did absolutely the right thing in getting help for this blackbird even though the outcome was a sad one. Please do not dwell on the fact you had to slightly distress Billy when capturing him as the alternative would have been resulted a lot more suffering, maybe for days and he could not have survived with such damage to his beak if it impeded his eating. You did not do a cruel thing by capturing him but a kind service as it would have been heart-breaking to see this bird deteriorate into starvation and therefore you saved him the pain. Blackbirds can be extremely confiding and I have no doubt that his offspring will bring as much joy to you as Billy did. I also understand the sadness of not being able to bury this lovely bird in your garden but try remember all the beautiful moments that Billy brought and that dozens of other birds will bring you in the years to come. As a community of fellow bird enthusiasts we all share your sadness and can recommend getting out into your garden or local area for a walk and just take in the birdlife that is around you, enjoy the sounds and sight of birds moving along in the sky or from tree to tree, and know that Billy is not suffering anymore and that hopefully your sadness will ease by the wonderful encounters with birds you will have from today and into the future. best wishes from Hazel


    Regards, Hazel 

  • Thank you so much. I had to find somewhere to talk about it and figured this would be the best place. He was like our little budgie. We talked to him everyday and he use to always follow us around the garden. He was one of a kind and I don’t think we’ll ever meet another bird like him.
    The most bizarre memory I have with him was back in Summer 2018. I was sat In the garden with my pet tortoise and Billy flys down and sits on the lawn for a few seconds then flys away again and I noticed that he left something. I went over to see what it was and it tuned out to be half of a blue egg shell. As crazy as it sounds I think he was trying to tell us that his babies had hatched. I couldn’t believe what I had seen and wondered why he would bring it to where he did but I think that’s what his intension was. He was just the sweetest bird and I hope he knows how loved he was. We’re going to make a memorial for him soon but I can’t bare to look in the garden just now because he would usually be sat outside the door making little noises until we fed him. It really hurts because he should still be out there, but he won’t be there ever again. Broken heart
  • Bless you WL, as with all grieving take your time. Black birds and Robins always try to become our friends, I love the way , they always introduce their young, teaching them that , they will always be fed and loved with us.

    But as you experienced, it is always a wrench,when some disaster strikes them,
    as others say, you will gradually look forward to welcoming Billy's offspring.

    Incidentally,do you have a local vet, that you could ask, if they will allow you to bring any injured wildlife.In the future.
    You would then be there to receive your friends investigation.

    Am sure we will all look forward to seeing you post some pics and record of visitors to your garden later in the year.

    Take care of yourself, our wildlife need all the help we can give them.


  • Fly free little Blackbird...

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)


  • Hello WL, so sorry to read about your friend Billy. This is always a horrid situation when we loose or never see again a friend that we have made. You did the right thing, you would not want him to have suffered. Hold onto your happy memories and the sooner the better for you ,to get out to the garden and see who is around, there will be someone there waiting to be a new friend.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • WL, I've only just seen your post and my heart goes out to you. As others have said, you did exactly the right thing and shortened the suffering time that your sweet Blackbird friend would have had to endure if you had not caught him. It is completely understandable that you grew to love Billy as you did. Wild animals as well as pets, dare I say it, can become like members of the family and it is easy to love them fiercely, and we suffer when tragedy or illness strikes them. Grieving is the price we pay for having loved and cared for (and been blessed with the trust of!) a wild creature. I hope one of his offspring takes over his territory and befriends you in the future.

    Kind regards, Ann

  • Hi woodenleg i too have had an incredibly similar experience but as this thread is 4 years old was wondering if your still around to reply too Michelle :)