Do you have a turdus in your garden?
You learn an immense amount when working on a building site. But we didn’t expect to be finding out about the breeding habits of blackbirds (turdus merulae). A hole high up inside the room forming the temporary entrance to the Heritage Hub proved an ideal nesting spot despite the constant flow of people immediately below. As soon as we saw the first signs of nesting activity, we contacted the council’s ecologist as the building contractors were due to convert the room into the new family history office the following week.
The blackbird appeared to know each time the ecologist was due to visit. After several days of not visiting the chosen nest-site, she resumed activities in earnest 2 hours before the ecologist’s first visit. This meant rescheduling building activities and booking in another visit from the ecologist. The first brood fledged earlier than expected and the blackbird promptly laid her second clutch of eggs on the Sunday before the ecologist visited early Monday morning. Determined not to get caught out again, we installed a wildlife camera and arranged twice-daily progress checks (including over the relevant weekend) well before the next brood were due to fledge. The second brood of four chicks fledged early on the Monday morning, and we managed to block up the entrance swiftly before the female blackbird laid her third brood of eggs.
Work on the family history office is now proceeding well and is due to be completed on schedule at the end of July. Meanwhile, many blackbirds are enjoying the cherries in the community garden and we hope ‘our’ turdus merula has found a more appropriate place for any further nesting activities.
Did you know that there is a 100+ year old blackbird’s nest from Dudbridge in the Museum in the Park in Stroud?