I only managed one session before the pair of blackbirds who nest in the hedge made their feelings clear. They were creating their nest, please could I stop and go away!
In early May, I was sure they were sitting, although I wasn't sure I heard chicks. Mr Blackbird has a particular call when he came back into the garden, a sort of 'Hi Honey, I'm home!' Then they seemed to spend time away from the nest and although I didn't see the young birds, it was as if each had one which they were feeding from the safety of the hedges. They also spent a lot of energy alarm-calling from the garden next door, and with my cats on their best behaviour, I knew it wasn't their fault.
Then it all went quiet. Mrs Blackbird came out of the hedge every so often, but there were several days where I didn't see or hear Mr Blackbird at all. Then last week I saw him with a beak stuffed full; he flew into the privet and swapped places with Mrs Blackbird. A little listening and observation confirmed they were feeding chicks.
Mrs Blackbird is the more confiding of the two. She's wary of the cats (quite right too!) but seems to realise that if I'm around, I'll warn them off.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been concentrating on the front garden, digging up all the grass and weeds (the bindweed is horrendous!), removing stones, glass, bits of plastic and so on, leaving freshly turned earth. Mrs Blackbird has noticed and has started to hold up progress and give me an excuse to sit down to rest more frequently as she pops down to inspect the recently dug areas. She gathers a beak full of grubs and worms, poops to lighten the load and then flits back over the house into the back garden. She also seems to have remembered that I am the distributor of dried mealworms, and occasionally just looks meaningfully at me until I toss a handful her way. She has started to come within a metre of me if I'm sitting and still, while I talk to her quietly.
|Mrs Blackbird: So, where are the mealworms then?|
The cats are in, much to their disgust. A fresh round of alarm calls showed that the cats had gone to sit, all eyes, ears and whiskers, by the glass patio doors from the dining room, so I've had to shut that door as well. I'm hoping she has the sense to guide the chick to somewhere less obvious and accessible while she's left in peace to feed.