Keeping The Song Thrush Singing
Such warm, settled weather is good news for much of our wildlife because it coincides with frenetic feeding activity as parents get busy collecting food for their young.
While garden birds such as blue tits often favour caterpillars for their brood, song thrushes will more usually gather up a collection of worms and other grubs from just below the surface of the soil.
I watched this one, while I was gardening, spend almost the entire morning flitting to and fro from its nest in nearby shrubs to collect as many worms as it could fit into its beak.
A song thrush nest is something of a labour of love, taking up to 3 weeks to build. It's made entirely by the female, and usually located low down in in shrubs, trees and climbing plants, though in thick vegetation song thrushes will nest on the ground.
Formed from twigs, grass and moss, the nest is a very neat structure secured together and thickly lined with mud, rotten wood, even dung, and often mixed with dried leaves.
Song thrushes will tend to have 2-3 broods a year, from March to August depending on weather, with 3-5 eggs (of the most beautiful blue) per clutch.
Always a gardener's friend, song thrushes are usually particularly fond of snails, which they'll vigorously bash against a stone before eating.
Although song thrushes tend to be solitary they will form groups in areas that offer good feeding and nesting sites.
Once a common sight, it's hard to believe that the song thrush finds itself on the UK red list in terms of conservation status. How did we let that happen?
How Can You Help?
Plant as many hedges and trees as your garden allows. Native trees such as hawthorn, crab apple and rowan, all of which are small to medium-sized, provide useful berries for song thrushes, as well as offering shelter and nesting sites.
As prolific snail-eaters thrushes are often fall victim to poisoning through slug pellet use, so use non-chemical control (beer traps are one example; there are dozens of others).
Also think about avoiding those plants that are particularly attractive to slugs - it's always best to work with nature rather than against it. And makes life so much easier for you!
Open up as much of your garden as possible by minimising the amount of hardstanding you have. Too many gardens are becoming flagged, gravelled, or covered with tarmac.
Rip it up! Plant flowers - get closer to nature. Bring your garden to life. The more of us that do, the greater the chance we have of stemming the tragic, shameful loss of our precious wildlife, such as the beautiful song thrush.