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Do we have a psycho blackbird?

(18 Posts)
Genevieve489 Tue 17-Dec-19 10:23:29

I recently saw a commotion in our garden - one male blackbird attacking another one quite viciously. Even when the one being attacked was on its back, the other blackbird continued pecking at it. I went out and the aggressor flew a few yards away, but continued to watch. The other bird just lay with its eyes wide open, obviously in a state of shock. I kept an eye on them and, although the victor didn't go back to the other bird, he continued to walk around it as though daring it to move. When I went out this morning, sadly, it was dead. Has anyone else seen this? Although I've seen them fighting before, I hadn't realised that blackbirds could kill one another. It's not mating time or a time of year when this sort of aggression would be understandable.

Chestnut Tue 17-Dec-19 11:05:53

Well I suppose nature is red in tooth and claw. I believe blackbirds are quite territorial and robins too. I love them both although it's very sad to see creatures suffering. The birds I hate most are sparrowhawks as we had some nearby and they killed all the blackbirds nesting in our garden. They actually flew right into the bushes where they were hiding and grabbed them.

blondenana Tue 17-Dec-19 11:11:09

Poor thing,couldn't you have moved it?
I caught a magpie attacking a pigeon,it was actually stood on it and about 3 others were watching,i ran out to scare it off,but the magpies and pigeon had gone,

MiniMoon Tue 17-Dec-19 11:25:00

A blackbird will defend its territory, and will fight to the death with another if it's territory has been invaded.
In winter he is defending not only his nesting site but also his food supply.
Robins fight to the death too.

Greyduster Tue 17-Dec-19 12:08:40

I’ve never seen that level of aggression in blackbirds but wouldn’t doubt if. I have seen robins fighting and vicious doesn’t begin to describe it!

elastic Tue 17-Dec-19 12:12:30

I am really disappointed in blackbirds now.

Smileless2012 Tue 17-Dec-19 12:23:32

I asked Mr. S. about this as he is a keen ornithologist. He said blackbirds are extremely territorial as are robins (as has been said).

It's unusual for a confrontation to go this far but not unheard of.

Sparrowhawks, crows, wood peckers and magpies do what they need to in order to survive. Grey squirrels will take birds if they get the chance.

Nature isn't always pleasant.

Yehbutnobut Tue 17-Dec-19 12:50:34

Yes, very vicious bird.

Elegran Tue 17-Dec-19 13:26:25

No need to be disappointed, elastic. It is normal for wild creatures to defend their territory from interlopers. They need that territory to feed themselves and survive the winter, and then to feed their families and raise them successfully. If they didn't fight for their rights, they would die of starvation.

We love to hear songbirds singing loudly in our gardens, but they are not singing to entertain us, or to proclaim that the world is perfect and wonderful. They sing to warn other birds of the same or related species that this is THEIR patch, where THEY are the only ones entitled to eat the worms and insects and to build a nest attract a mate and bring up their chicks. Others either take heed and stay away or chance their wing arm and sneak in - and take the consequences.

Humans understand this if it is stags in the Highlands or lions in the Serengeti, but not when it is small creatures like birds.

Elegran Tue 17-Dec-19 13:26:56

It is not viciousness.

endlessstrife Tue 17-Dec-19 14:17:35

I think it’s to do with one sensing weakness in the other. A type of natural selection. We have loads of squirrels, they’re always fighting and chasing birds, who are quite often fighting amongst themselves as well. It can be absolute carnage in our garden. The pigeons in our garden don’t know it’s not the mating season! 🤪

Elegran Tue 17-Dec-19 15:40:09

Pigeons mate all year - they parade along the top of my pergola, showing off to their females, and jumping on board if she crouches down and shows she is willing. The dovecots on old estates took advantage of their enthusiasm and provided them with safe dry nesting boxes so as to harvest the tender squabs in winter when fresh meat was scarce.

endlessstrife Tue 17-Dec-19 19:02:01

Thank you Elegran, that explains a lot!!

Chewbacca Tue 17-Dec-19 19:15:27

Last Spring I saw 2 house sparrows fighting about one of the holes in the wall, that had had a nest in the previous year. The fight went on for ages, with one sparrow actually sitting at the edge of the hole, guarding it, and the other sparrow trying to force him out. Several times they fought in mid air whilst other sparrows nearby shrieked and flapped around them. I've never seen such a prolonged and violent fight over territory before. Looked at house sparrows in a totally different light ever since!

Callistemon Tue 17-Dec-19 19:54:33

We had two pigeons who were billing and cooing in our garden then an interloper appeared each day and eventually a huge fight ensued.

The two males were fighting quite viciously, hitting each other with their wings for quite a long time until one gave in and wasn't seen again.

MissAdventure Tue 17-Dec-19 20:40:14

I had to go outside and shoo off a crow which was attacking another a couple of weeks ago.

It was quite scary!

Genevieve489 Tue 17-Dec-19 21:26:50

Thanks for all your replies. I didn't realise that bird fights could go so far. After I'd chased the attacking blackbird away, the injured bird did manage to move away, blondnana, but then sat with his head down in another part of the garden and the other blackbird didn't come back to him. I think it may have been the shock of the attack that killed him. And yes, MissAdventure, I found the whole thing quite scary, too.

Davidhs Tue 17-Dec-19 21:34:20

What is happening is that there are migrant blackbirds coming in from Eastern Europe and the resident blackbirds are defending their territory and food supply. In addition to that there are migrant Redwings and Fieldfares compete as well.