Baby blackbird advice please

Hi, I'm new here and have come to seek advice from anyone with knowledge or experience in baby blackbird behaviour...........

12 days ago we were made aware (by our intriuged cats) of a fledgling blackbird tucked in by the side of the garden shed.The parents were around and doing their alarm calling. We immediately brought the cats inside and then later that day when all was quiet we let them out again, hoping the bird had flown away.

The next morning we heard the parents again, looked out of the window to see mummy BB on the patio near some shrubbery and it was evident that the cats had discovered something again and were investigating!! We shot down and yet again brought the cats inside - baby BB sighted again.

I may add that our cats are ragdoll and ragdoll cross (2 of each) and seem not to have the killing instinct (thankfully!!) They are however, obviously very interested and have been found all gathered around the bird on these occassions. One such occassion I even found the male ragdoll lying next to the baby bird in the bushes!!!! All the attention is understandably very much unwanted by the baby and its distressed parents - hence we have kept them in the house ever since, waiting for the baby to fly off.

I am not very familiar with the bird wildlife although I do know to leave well alone and let the parents feed and tend to the baby while on the ground. The parents are both very attentive and the baby comes out in the day and hops about near the mum (who has been sunbathing on our garden furniture) and begs for food.

This is all very lovely to see but......

Is this a normal time frame for the baby to be on the ground with no sign of ability to fly?? (Ive only read that they remain on ground for a few days - we are nearing 2 weeks!)

I will keep the cats in, but this is not great as they are becoming stressed and the male is attacking our female, and he is also making a silent protest by refusing to use the litter tray now!!

So, I am really asking whether anyone has any advice and if anyone can give me an idea of how long it might take before the baby can fly, or if you think there might be a problem with it preventing it from flying??


Sorry for the long post!!

Any feedback greatly appreciated :-)

  • Hello cazgrz,

    Welcome to the forum, if I were you I would leave the baby blackbird , as it's parent's will see to it.  They can usually stay on the ground or on the bird table., like ours do.

    Hope this advice helps?



  • In reply to wren:

    Thanks for your reply Jenny and your kind welcome,

    I will leave it as it seems to be doing well and the parents are doing a good job - much better than I could ( I have my own 9 week old baby to look after anyway!!).

    Just really want to know how long it may remain on the ground- is nearing 2 weeks normal or might there be a problem. I will be leaving it alone and keeping the cats in (sigh!!) until either it flies off or it does become apparent that there's a problem preventing it from flying.


  • In reply to doggie:

    Young blackbirds spend much of their time on the ground after leaving the nest, remember, even the adults are ground feeding birds for much of their lives. The development period for fledglings varies from individual to individual, but it can take a few weeks until they have figured it out.

    It would be best to keep the cats in for a little while longer to give the parent blackbirds a stress free time so they can concentrate on feeding their offspring, which will speed up it's development. There is likely to be at least two or three fledglings hidden around the garden so they have a lot of work to do.

    If you do need to exercise your cats outside, have you tried them on cat harnesses? It works well for some cats!

    Warden Intern at Otmoor.

  • In reply to IanH:

    Thanks to Alan and Ian,

    Yes, I'm pretty sure it is the same one, always in the same position under the bushes and only ever seen one at a time.When the mum comes onto the patio, the baby hops about nearby and waits to be fed, though I have seen it feeding itself also.

    A few days ago when it was very warm I noticed 3 fledglings all lying out in sunbathing pose in various spots on the garden, and I did see some clumsy flying taking place so was very hopeful for our little one but when I checked later it was still in place under bushes.


    I suppose it is possible it can fly but very unlikely from what ive been seeing. Just hope it wont be long now!!


  • In reply to cazgrz:

    Hi cazgrz,

    It does seem a long time but we have to remember that we and our birds are all individuals. The best advice I can offer is to make sure the parents have lots of food easily to hand so that they and their offspring have loads to eat and so speed up development. I would put out on a low table or on the ground, sultanas and raisins soaked in water, fresh fruit (such as over ripe apples, apple cores and so on), mealworms (dried ones soaked in water are easiest) and possibly some suet pellets (especially the ones with added mealworm fragments).

    If you can place these in a frame work that will allow the birds in but not the cats you may even find the problem infant will spend sometime feeding himself safely!! You can make a temporary frame from large holed chickenwire and some short canes. 

    Another thing I used to do with my cats when baby birds were around was to attach a lead to their flea collars and slip the leads onto a long running line that enabled to cats to walk about a bit but not be able to chase birds. You do have to watch carefully in case they get tangled up at all but if the alternative is incarceration in the house it can help to relieve some of their frustration and stress for a few minutes.

    Hope this helps and I hope we hear more from you!


    God gave us two ears and one mouth for a very good reason!

  • In reply to Jenni Morgan:

    Hi Jenni, Thanks for reading my post and for your reply!

    I was woken this morning, or maybe I was already awake after feeding my baby (can't remember now!!) and kept hearing lots of bird noises and some BB alarm calling but not desperate so assumed it ws from another garden or just the blackbird family waking up and getting busy feeding.....anyway, in the end I thought the baby's call sounded a bit desperate so I looked out of the window, only to see 2 of my cats outside peering into the edge of patio!!! Couldn't believe it...the other male cat Sooty was nowhere to be seen but he is the one who will have somehow managed to prize open the catflap despite out 'securing' it!!! He is a propper determined little houdini!!!

    So next think, I'm running downstairs and into the garden - in just my undies!!! I'm soooo hoping that no neighbours would be up at 06.00 on a sunday and happening to be looking out of their windows then else they would have had a bit of a shock *ahem*

    So manage to get cats in and little birdy who had squeezed itself behind some wood, hopped back to its usual hiding place and called to mum, who wasn't far away.    

    This bird is so lucky that my cats are clearly nothing more than curious, Ive watched it today again hopping around waiting and chirping to mum to feed it.

    It's now been 2 weeks with still no flying demonstrated. REALLY wish it would get on with it, just so I know it can, and so I can release my poor cats again.

    Thanks very much for your suggestions - I will give them a go :-)


  • Hello I am new to the forum. I have a baby blackbird in the garden which sits on the lawn in quite a vulnerable position, it has been there for 3 days and no sign of parents. It is trying to feed as I put food out for the birds. I took some moistened cake out for it and it showed no fear still remained and took the food I noticed then it's red gape and it did struggle with the food, then it hopped off into the bushes, I am not sure if it can fly it looks healthy and a good size fledgling but no parents feeding it. My neighbour has cats which frequently take birds so I am concerned. Does it need help, can it feed itself enough to survive.
    Sorry such a long read, would appreciate any advice. Many thanks for any feedback.


  • It should be wise enough to take shelter in the bushes ... do you have any currants or raisins that you could soften in a little warm water then drain to offer it?  Maybe dig over some earth to expose grubs & worms!


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  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    Hello Wendy, thank you for your help. Have soaked some dries sultanas not to large also forked around the border so exposed a few creatures that the blackbird should take. Will just keep an eye on him or her due to the neighbours cats and encourage feeding and keeping out sight by putting food down in the border so hopefully no more sitting out in full view of predators.

    Thanks once again