strange_complex: (Penny Dreadful)
I have just watched one of my blackbird chicks die after being pecked by a magpie. I banged hard on the window as soon as I saw it happening, but it was too late for that chick. It thrashed and twitched for a while, and then was still. I don't know where the parents are, and I can't tell if the other chicks are OK or not.

I feel really shaken up about it, although I did know that it was unlikely all four would survive. I saw some pigeons close by the nest earlier, too. I didn't think they were such ones for eating other birds' chicks as magpies, but it looks like they would, given half the chance.

I know this stuff happens all the time, but I had got really involved with these blackbirds. At this rate, I shall be sitting up all night with an air-gun, defending them whenever the parents aren't around.

Not happy.
strange_complex: (Wicker Man sunset)
1. Human parents (mine)

Their visit over the weekend went very well, and essentially consisted of us doing the things I'd said we were going to do in this post.

The play )

Our drive around NE Antrim )

Sunday )

2. Blackbird parents (also, obviously, my personal property)

The other big news of the moment is that my blackbirds' chicks have hatched! I discovered this on Sunday, when I took my parents into my office on the way to the pub to show them the nest (knowing that, as bird-fanciers, they'd be interested). At first, we thought the female was still incubating, but then the male arrived with some worms, and she got up off the nest to reveal three healthy little chicks, with their beaks gaping open for their dinner. Since I could never see more than three eggs in the nest (although the viewing angle means that there might have been a fourth one hidden by the nest edge), I'm taking this to mean that all of the eggs have probably hatched successfully.

What happens next )

I'm normally not that bothered about birds, but as both Carrick-a-Rede and the excitement of my front-row seat at the blackbird nesting process have demonstrated, I can get interested when they're either underlining the beauty of a natural setting, or close enough to me that I can get personally involved with them.

Regular Blackbird Bulletins will continue as there is more news, and anyone in Belfast is welcome to pop round to my office and have a look at them if they're interested.

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