Where to Find Blackbirds in the UK?Blackbird populations are widespread throughout the UK. They are very common in most regions of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while less common in the Highland areas of northern Scotland.
Blackbirds are well adapted to a variety of habitats, including suburban areas, woodland and grassland. The only habitat you may struggle to spot blackbirds are mountainous areas where you find a lack of berries.
How to Identify a BlackbirdMale blackbirds are probably the easiest of British wild birds to identify. The adult male blackbird is black with a bright yellow beak, with wingspan in the region of 34cm to 39cm.
The female blackbird can be a tad more difficult to identify. This bird is brown, has pale brown streaks and white mottling on its breast. The female blackbird is roughly the same size as a male blackbird, with a wingspan measuring 34cm to 39cm.
Younger male blackbirds will often be born without their yellow eye rings which will develop as the bird starts to age. Their feathers will also take some time to develop their distinctive black colour, which is why the younger adult male can often be mistaken for it’s female counterpart.
What Do Blackbirds Eat?Blackbirds are fundamentally an insectivarious bird. This means they live on a diet largely containing insects like your typical earthworm and caterpillar. They will also supplement their diet with a healthy variety of berries like the Rowan Berry and Ivy Berry. However, there are a variety of factors that will impact what your Blackbirds choose to feed on, these include:
How important is the habitat when feeding Blackbirds?
The habitat will also be a major factor in what your local Blackbirds eat. If you live in a an area dominated by Woodland, Blackbirds will tend to enjoy a healthy diet of caterpillars. If you live in a suburban area, your Blackbirds will more than likely enjoy earthworms as the main component of their diet.
What do Blackbird chicks/babies eat?
Blackbirds that are looking after young chicks will opt for a high protein diet containing maggots, earthworms and caterpillars. They’re unlikely to feed on berries during fledgling season, which for Blackbirds ranges from late March through to early July.
What Should I Feed Blackbirds?Unless you’ve got a healthy store of earthworms and caterpillars in your garden, you’re probably wondering what’s the best bird feed to offer blackbirds. Well, the answer is that blackbirds will eat almost any bird feed on offer, but to ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance of spotting these wonderful birds, we’d recommend the following.
Blackbirds are naturally insectivarious, so to give yourself the best chance of attracting them to your garden we’d recommend starting with Dried Mealworms. You could feed them Live Mealworms, which will naturally be more attractive, however, Live Mealworms are much more expensive and require you have the correct storage containers. Dried Mealworms on the other hand are just as nutritious, containing all the protein your Blackbirds need to thrive.
Shop Dried Mealworms here.
Alternatively, if Dried Mealworms seem a bit too expensive, you could always feed your Blackbirds a cheaper worm in Calciworms. These worms are the offspring of the Black Solider Fly and, as the name suggests, come packed with calcium and protein. Calcium is particularly important to Blackbirds during moulting season, as they need high levels to regenerate the sheen on their feathers.
Shop Dried Calciworms here.
Sunflower Hearts are like the hamburger of the bird world. Packed with protein and delicious fatty oils, Blackbirds are almost guaranteed to flock to your feeders when offered Sunflower Hearts. They can be a little on the expensive side, but if you’re looking to attract Blackbirds, this is a key feed to consider packing your feeder with.
Shop Sunflower Hearts here.
Suet Pellets (Berry or Mealworm/Insect Based)
Blackbirds love two things, insects and berries. A cost effective way to offer them these two feeds is to choose a suet pellet made with a base of berries or mealworm/insects. The suet will have all the fat and proteins they need, while the berry or insect base will make it an irresistible feed. Try mixing the two feeds for a extra treat for your local blackbirds.
Shop Suet Pellets here.
Robin & Songbird Food
If you’re a mix feeder rather than a straight feeder (someone who only feeds one particular seed/feed per feeder), then the best mix to offer your Blackbirds is a high quality Robin & Songbird Food. A high quality Robin mix should come with Dried Mealworms, Sunflower Hearts and Berry Suet Pellets, all of which are mentioned above and are adored by Blackbirds. Make sure to analyse the ingredients as some mixes say “Robin Food” but don’t actually contain the right ingredients.
Shop Robin & Songbird Food here.
Where Do Blackbirds Nest?Blackbirds are largely solitary in nature but will settle down with a partner to nest at the start of the breeding season. The nesting habits of solitary and partner Blackbirds are similar and include the following.
Blackbird enjoy building nests in a variety of locations. These include trees, shrubs and climbers where the location is thick in vegetation. You may also find nests inside quiet buildings and even even on the ground when the location is right.
Blackbirds nests are pretty typical cup style nests made up of grass, straw, small twigs and other plant materials. On the inside, the nest will lined with mud and fine grass. The perfect home for a cheerful Blackbird.
The female will almost always do the building of the nest, while the male is often the forager. Blackbirds are also extremely territorial with their nests. If other blackbirds enter their territory then they will try to clear them off as quickly as possible. Blackbirds have also been known to attack humans when they encroach on their territory.
When is Blackbird Breeding Season?Blackbird breeding season will start in late March and continue up until July with 2 or 3 broods being the typical offspring each year. However, if the weather is favourable, it has been known for Blackbirds to go for a fourth brood during August.
How many eggs does a Blackbird lay?
In a typical clutch, you can expect to find between 3 and 5 eggs. 5 eggs is the more typical, but if the weather is less favourable then less will be layed.
What is the egg incubation period like?
It’s around 15 days, all though it can be less, again, if the weather is favourable. The female will incubate the eggs by herself, while the male will be about foraging.
When do blackbird chicks/babies leave the nest?
That’s usually around 15 days. They won’t be able to fly at this stage, but they will bop around in the undergrowth learning to use their wings and building their strength.
Do Blackbirds migrate?So, you want to attract some Blackbirds to your garden but, during the colder months of the year, is it even possible to attract Blackbirds? Well, the answer is a bit of a yes and a no. The Blackbirds you find in your backyard are more than likely resident birds meaning they live all year round and don’t stray far from home. However, Blackbirds can migrate over to warmer spots of Europe if the weather takes a turn for the worst. This is a very common habit of Blackbirds found in Scandinavian Europe where the winter weather is often much colder than the UK.
How Long Do Blackbirds Live?Blackbirds have a fun and fruitful life of hunting for worms and foraging for berries of about 3.4 years on average. This is an average, and many young chicks will struggle to survive beyond their first year, while many have been known to live much longer. The oldest Blackbird recorded was a hardly fellow who made it to over 20 years of age.
How to attract Blackbirds to your gardenBlackbird are one of Britain’s most iconic birds. With their beautiful black sheening coat and bright yellow beaks, they are definitely a bird you’ll want to attract to your yard. So, how do you do it? Follow these simple tips to have Blackbirds flocking to your yard in no time.
Plant Berry-Licious Plants
Blackbirds love to supplement their mainly insectivarious diet with a variety of berries. So, to attract Blackbirds, you should ensure you’re growing a variety of plants that produce blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, plums and roses. Vegetable plants that produce Tomatoes are also a hotspot for Blackbirds.
Blackbirds are insectivarous birds. This means that their diet largely consists of foraging for insects like earthworms and caterpillars. So, in an effort to attract them to your garden, you should offer insect-based feeds which clench them desire for a high-protein snack. Try Dried Mealworms, Calci Worm and Insect-Based Suet Pellets.
Fresh, Clean Water
Blackbirds are hard at work providing for themselves and their family almost every second of every day. For this reason, they need a healthy amount of water to help them thrive. Try adding a bird bath to your garden to give the Blackbird a place to refresh throughout the day.
Leave Areas Undisturbed
Blackbirds are notoriously territorial birds. This means that they will physically attack any bird (or human!) that threatens their nest. For this reason, we’d advise trying to leave areas of your garden well alone where Blackbirds can set up their nest. You don’t need to stay inside at all times, but if you can avoid the area when a Blackbird is nesting this your best chance at having a friendly local visitor all year round.