Youthful bird shows little respect

PUBLISHED: 13:36 06 July 2007 | UPDATED: 22:54 28 May 2010

On a wet and windy Saturday morning, I found myself lacking the usual eagerness to get out and instead spent a few hours watching the birds in my garden from the comfort of my sofa. It is great to spend longer than you would normally looking at something

On a wet and windy Saturday morning, I found myself lacking the usual eagerness to get out and instead spent a few hours watching the birds in my garden from the comfort of my sofa.

It is great to spend longer than you would normally looking at something as inevitably you will notice, or it will do, something you have never seen before.

Blackbirds were playing a starring role that morning, with a fully independent, scaly juvenile bird, a rather worn looking adult female and then an adult male coming to feed on the sunflower hearts I had scattered around the borders.

Once the youngster had been joined by the older birds, I felt sure its stay would be cut short and it would be ousted by the more dominant birds. How wrong I was.

I put the first 'charge' by the juvenile bird down to youthful exuberance and thought that the female bird that had been on the receiving end had just decided to let this aggressive piece of behaviour go just the once. When it happened again though, with the female bird yielding the feeding space once more, I realised that this young blackbird had no intention of giving up its well-stocked feeding spot and that age didn't matter to it at all.

The female bird remained, but made sure she skirted around the juvenile bird whenever it looked as if their paths were going to cross. The male bird had been feeding away from the skirmishes and had perhaps been unaware of this 'rogue' juvenile. However, he soon got the same treatment and the juvenile bird, with head bowed scurried right at him, forcing him to move to another corner of the garden.

I felt very confident that this juvenile bird was going to have no problem in surviving and staking a claim to a territory of its own.

I love to hear about your sightings and receive your letters and e-mails, so I'd like to thank Sue Beel, of the Friends of Leverington Road Cemetery, in Wisbech, for reporting their spring sighting of a rare Camberwell Beauty butterfly to me.

As I said to Sue, this is one of the few British butterflies (it is strictly speaking a rare vagrant rather than a true 'Brit'), that I haven't caught up with yet on my travels, so I was very envious indeed.

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