Thursday, 2 July 2009

More Blackbirds and Leaf Cutter Bees

The blackbirds are still collecting food for their juvenile but all seems a lot peaceful now.

Blackbirds often fledge about 36 hours before they can fly which means they are vulnerable to predators and the parents have a hard job feeding them. Its not that surprising that the blackbird chicks fledge early as their is not really a great deal of room in the nest. If you see a female blackbird on the nest the head and chest stick out one end and the tail sticks out the other.
(Picture from a book I wrote on blackbirds)

The chicks usually spend 2 weeks in the nest from hatching and may be fed by the parents for another three weeks before totally dependant. This will partly depend on the parents who may be ready to try for another clutch. Blackbirds may have 2, 3 or more clutches a year which is one of the reasons they are so successful. Blue tits, for example, have only one clutch and if that fails, that's it until next year. The blackbirds still mob our cat occasionally and chase of any rival blackbirds but by mid morning all was quite. Its not clear if this is the only chick they successfully reared or if there are others that managed to stay out of trouble better.

While having lunch on the decking I noticed a leaf cutter bee in one of the flower pots (with a small oak tree).

It was digging a a tunnel, pushing the soil out of the tunnel with its jaws.

About 10 minutes later the leaf cutter bee returned with a section of leaf it had cut from a nearby plant. (See entry 30th May 2007, of bees cutting leaf).

This solitary bee makes its nest with pieces of leaves, creating individual cells and lays an egg in each. (See may 3rd 2009 entry re an old leaf cutter bee nest) The bee went too and fro several times working on its nest before I had to go and work.

Late evening, and our cat discovered that the blackbird chick was at the back of our neighbours garden. The male blackbird started mobbing behaviour which attracted our attention.

It took a lot of coaxing to get her away and in the end resorted to bribing her with ham. I managed to lead her away by throwing bits of ham on the ground. The last bit I threw into our conservatory. She went through the door and I quickly shut in behind her. She gave me the most filthy look and then deliberately jumped up into my chair and looked at me as if to say, "don't even think about it".

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