Thrushesthriving on windfall apples

The bumper crop of apples nationwide in 2013, and the fact that they stayed on the trees so late in many instances, seems to have provided a bonanza for native and migrant thrushes. The pictured birds below - Blackbird female, Redwing and Fieldfare - were among a group of around two dozen feasting on windfalls this morning. A Song Thrush was also present, but not interested in the fruit, while for the first time in my experience a Great-spotted Woodpecker also seemed to have a go at an apple for a short while. Fieldfares appear to be top of the pecking order, no doubt because they are the biggest of these garden visitors. One devoted the best part of 20 minutes trying to chase away Redwings and Blackbirds, an exercise in futility given the number of apples available across a fair-sized area in the garden.

Female Blackbird 


Fieldfare poised for action

Fieldfare in action

The Fieldfare which spent nearly 20 minutes chasing other birds off the apples

  • Cracking photos Jeremy looks as if there will be plenty apples for a while to keep all the feathered friends happy!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Absolutely beautiful photos Jeremy,the light and shadows along with the colour of the apples against the birds really add interest. The last one of the fieldfare is a corker,I've only ever seen them at a distance

    Best wishes, Jayne

    See my Flickr photos here.

  • In reply to welsh lass:

    Great photos Jeremy.  I love the one of the Fieldfare with its beak in an apple.  I've never seen a Fieldfare but I'm still looking.


    Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.


  • In reply to appleanne:

    Just fabulous photos Jeremy - you've no shortage of apples there!  I've got an apple tree in my garden and find it quite unbelievable that there are still apples on it despite such strong winds as we've had this past week or two.  Just in the last couple of days I've had fieldfares in the garden - but no redwing.  At the moment they've just come in the morning for a short while and I've put all the apples to the back of the garden to try and keep them all away from the main feeding area for the other birds.

    The reason for this is that last winter I had fieldfares just for a week when there was snow on the ground.  At first there were four or five of them, but then one particularly aggressive one took it upon itself to not only chase all the other species of bird from the garden, but even the other fieldfares.  It was unbelievable to watch!  I mean just how many calories can a bird get from a simple apple?  I get a lot of birds and he just flew at them all non stop - it wasn't even enough to get them off the lawn and into a tree - they had to be got out of the trees and into the neighbour's garden as well - only then was he satisfied!  And it was a never ending job - don't know where he got the energy from - didn't even have time to eat much in the end!  To be quite honest, much as I loved seeing the fieldfare (my first experience of them) I was glad when the snow went and he left so my other birds could come back and feed in peace!

    Sorry to go on at such length - your post just triggered off the memory!  I would be really interested to hear if your fieldfares come back and if they get to be this aggressive.  Keep us posted!

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to ChristineB:

    Beautiful set of photos Jeremy and so nice to see the various thrushes enjoying the fallen apples, they are such lovely birds and hope they treated you to a song or two !


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Super photographs Jeremy. Must have been a lovely sight to have so many eating the apples, plus the GSW.

  • In reply to Brenda H:

    Fabulous photos, JE. Aren't Fieldfares such a beautiful mix of colours.

    Quite agree with comments re Fieldfare behaviour! In the bad, snowy winters a couple of years ago, I fixed apples into a few small trees, and Fieldfares set up their territories, guarding them all day long. Each bird got through 1 apple per day, and underneath on the ground, was a pile of 'mushy-apple' droppings, that really looked equivalent to 1 apple! So I can't imagine how they survived on such apparently meagre rations!

  • In reply to Rose Marsh:

    Lovely to see so many birds enjoying your apples. We are still picking up & eating some of our windfalls, they are in excellent condition. We get blackbirds & blackcaps eating them at the moment but the thrushes don't seem to have arrived in sufficient quantities to be tempted. I live in hope!!

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France