Hi there

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a hungry blackbird

begging trusting depending

cherries in season

 As I promised on January 16th here is an update to the blog, “I’m here”.  When mother blackbird transferred daily feeding responsibilities for her 3 fledglings we took on the task with hesitation but sympathy although Charlie encouraged them to move on and beg elsewhere. Hoping these young birds would start listening to their genes and focus on worms, insects etc as their bulk nourishment we agreed to supplement with half a cherry each a couple of times a day. This worked reasonably well for a few days but as they grew bigger so did the sibling rivalry for each others cherries. The male  gave up and disappeared first then gradually only one fledgling remained. She was going nowhere and set up a daily routine greeting the early riser at the back door, hovering outside windows, establishing fixed eye contact to anyone sitting in a window, any tactic as long as a cherry changed hands eventually. This bird has spent  every day in our back yard for a reasonable amount of time. She now does forage for other nibbles and gets excited if given a worm occasionally. Sometimes her sister turns up and we throw a grape or cherry to her however she has become very wary and flighty, maybe of us but certainly of big sister who will grab and sit on 2 cherries if possible. Very occasionally mother turns up and resident daughter attacks her . This is one dominant blackbird. She is very helpful and accompanies me on foot as I water the veggies and herbs. We have set up a personal water bowl at the back door and she often sits in it cooling her feet on hot days. Birdie as we have come to call her is now taking talking lessons to keep her brain active. This involves me making blackbird like noises to which she replies to which I reply to which she replies etc etc. Charlie tends to break this up if within hearing distance. A big test of our relationship will soon come as the last of Tasmania’s summer cherry crop has been and gone this week. In fact we have 4 fresh cherries left as of today. Will birdie accept tinned North American black cherries as her parents did last Autumn/Winter or will we face adolescent tantrums? An update  will happen.

I’m here

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blackbird fledgling

amongst a rainbow of leaves

waits for a cherry

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Three blackbird fledglings are being reared in our yard. This is the first time we have seen three successfully taken to near full growth by the parents, although mother has been doing most of the work. For two years now we have been contracted by the parents to provide the occasional  fresh cherry during summer. Being softies for cute birds this feeding arrangement has expanded to regular tinned cherries during the colder months. The smart mother has shown the fledglings to beg for cherries and of course we have stepped up the feeding. As a stand over tactic mother has also shown the young ones how to take growing cherry tomatoes from our plants if cherries don’t appear, and to our dismay  we recently discovered they have cleaned out our blueberry bush. Currently mother blackbird has left the fledglings for us to feed and the father flies past once a day to check we are cooperating. The situation is becoming interesting as one fledgling has no fear of us and behaves like a tame chicken and will probably next try mastering the skill of opening the back door. Charlie is showing some support for us and races around the back if she hears us feeding the birds, however she does not eat cherries and quickly returns inside for a reward. There may be an instalment to this story, keep watching.