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Enticing Blackbirds into the Garden. Attracting Blackbirds.


 
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crosstownk
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:48 pm    Post subject: Enticing Blackbirds into the Garden. Attracting Blackbirds. Reply with quote

Hi All,

I've lots of varieties of birds that visit my garden daily - Robins, Finches, Blackbirds, Magpies, etc. I've put up feeders which attract the finches, and the robin to a lesser extent, but, how do I go about encouraging the Blackbird (who is a ground feeder)?

Any suggestions welcomed..............................

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:05 pm    Post subject: Enticing and Attracting Blackbirds into the Garden. Reply with quote

Blackbirds are indeed ground feeders; they tend to spend longer periods on the ground in open gardens on mown lawns in search of earthworms and other invertebrates.
A lawn kept moist in summer by watering will increase the availability of these worms at the surface.
I believe the open lawn allows the Blackbird good visibility of potential predators enabling an early retreat into the dense cover of shrubberies and hedgerows.
So, an open garden (lawn) with dense boundary plant would be attractive to Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Finches, Robins and Starlings.
The following plants are suitable for the boundary as they also provide fruits and berries for blackbirds, thrushes, Robins, even Blackcaps and scarce Waxwings to feast on.

Bearberries.
Berberis darwinii,
Berberis thunbergii,
Berberis aggrgata,
Berberis gagnepainii,

Cotoneasters.
Cotoneaster horizontalis,
Cotoneaster sternianus,
Cotoneaster bullatus,
Cotoneaster frigidus,
Cotoneaster salicifolius,
Cotoneaster X watereri,

Bramble or blackberry.
Rubus fruiticosus,

Elderberry.
Sambucus nigra,
Sambucus racemo,

Hawthorn.
Crataegus monogyna

Crabapple.

Malus "Golden Hornet",
Malus "John Downie",
Malus sargentii,

Firethorn.
Pyracantha coccinea
Pyracantha atalantioides
Pyracantha rogersiana

Holly.
Ilex aquifolium

You can view pictures and gain further information on these hedging plants here on this Irishgardeners.com sticky.... http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=204

Of course you can also offer the Blackbirds the old reliable pieces of bread or sections of apple or pear, which being fruit, they really love.
However, it is pointless putting this food into a standard hanging bird feeder for birds that prefer to eat from the ground.
Instead, scatter the food on the ground possibly beside a drinking source such a bowl of water.
Or else feed from a platform bird feeder, see this post here... http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6

One final point; allow your garden to get messy especially under the trees, shrubs and hedgerows.
Tidying up and disposing of leaves, bits of bark and twigs takes precious foodstuffs away from the ground feeding birds.
Worms, insects and spiders can be found just beneath the litter that the Blackbird loves to peck and scrape through.

Hope this helps.

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crosstownk
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, GPI. Thanks a lot.

While my garden is small, it is 40+ years in the making and a lot of what you've stated describes my garden to a tee. I've an open lawn with high, dense hedgerows. I generally leave it unattended in the winter and let nature take its course. From what you say, it appears I've the perfect refuge for Blackbirds. I better keep a sharper eye on the garden for the little critters. I'm looking forward to hearing the mating song next Feb/Mar.

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:25 pm    Post subject: Increase your earthworm population Reply with quote

You may want to increase your earthworm population also.
Earthworms require an organic matter food source such as grass clippings, so maybe you could use a mulching lawnmower if you are not using one already.
Also reducing the use of artificial granular fertilisers will increase your worm population.

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crosstownk
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it must have worked as I reckon I've now two Blackbird nests in the garden. I'm not sure, but I think one is vacant as I've seen no activity from it in a week. It is possible that the hen is incubating but I've not seen a cock visit the nest either. The other thing is the second nest is only about 3m away and I wonder would they nest that closely? I have seen 2 cocks in the garden squabbling but I've never seen 2 hens at the same time. One nest is in a Labaurum tree (amongst the ivy) and the other is close by in an 'Italian Skies' large bush.

I also discovered a Balckbird egg on the path beside the house - smashed - and today I noticed a Magpie chasing both of the Blackbird cocks so I reckon maybe the first nest was raided which may have been the reason a second is now being constructed. Fair play to the Blackbird - she's cleaning my gutters as she forages for nesting material.

I'll keep a watchful eye - and an ear too for the squeaking of the chicks in a few weeks, hopefully.

PS Not sure if the correct term for male and female Blackbirds is cock & hen - -just going on what I know from breeding Budgerigars a few years ago (no I didn't send any to Portlaoise!!!!!)

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