But my mate the blackbird is back, on top of the hawthorn again, singing
his little heart out. Hadn't seen or heard from him all week, so was
beginning to wonder what had become of him.
I've discovered our friend is a "he". "She" blackbirds aren't actually
black, who would've known?
Apparently, the males establish their breeding territory during their
first year, and hold it throughout their lives, defending it each year
from spring through till around July. My friend is probably over a
couple of years old, as his wings are jet black; apparently in their
first year, they still retain the juvenile dull brown colour.
So that means the little fellow isn't new to the hawthorn, only that
I've just noticed him this year.
The oldest known backbird recorded was, I read, 21 years and 1 month,
but the average lifespan is closer to 3 to 4 years, with this time of
year being the most vulnerable for him. The RSPB site tells me that over
half of blackbird deaths occur between March and June.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for the little guy.