Female BlackbirdAt the start of the last lockdown, you may remember tales of my garden-nesting Blackbirds. I was interested in this pair as they nested in the same spot in the beech hedge where they had bred in 2019, but they started a bit later in 2020. I was interested to know if they would achieve such incredible productivity given the later start.

In 2019 they laid three times in the same nest and fledged 3, 4, and 5 chicks from each attempt, followed by building a new nest for the fourth brood of four chicks equalling 16 fledged young.

In 2020, they started about a week later but built a second nest for the second clutch of eggs, so the female could start incubating those while the male continued to feed the first brood. They produced four broods again, returning to ‘Nest 1’ for brood three, but each of the first three broods was three chicks, and they switched to nesting in my neighbours garden for the fourth, so I don’t know the total productivity, but it was lower than 2019.

We had to cut this bit of hedge back this winter, so they moved a bit to a new dense and safe spot and built the new nest in early March. The first egg was laid on 17th March, two days earlier than 2020, about five days later than 2019. I am pleased to say that two of the three eggs laid in 'Nest 1' have successfully hatched this week.

Keep up to date with my garden blackbirds, follow on social media or check this blog regularly.

Dr Vince Lea
Head of Wildlife Monitoring