Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Song Thrush and black berry surprise

Ivy flowers on the garden pergola have been discussed in a previous blog post back in November 2011. Black ivy berries to follow have been suggested in other blog comments as food for the Woodpigeon too, further suggesting the promise of Bed and Breakfast for a pair of Woodpigeons that nested there last year.

As for the black ivy berries, nope I’ve never noticed them. Well, not until Day 1 of BBC Springwatch (Monday of this week). So, it was a sunny Bank Holiday Monday and the garden awaited weeding but at the same time there was ironing in the basket and a washing in the machine waiting to go outside, but... the Robin nest video footage had me glued to the PC monitor!

Walking away was hard, nesting activity is addictive viewing you know, but domestic duties called as did some time outside in the garden and in the sun. Expect the unexpected and all that, but as the washing machine door was opened, movement outside caught my eye that I really wasn’t expecting...


Song Thrush video, 50 sec with background music, try HD quality.


On top of my ivy clad pergola, a Song Thrush was moving about. That, in itself was a nice sighting as they are shy visitors. A quick dash for the video camera ensued and then on zooming in… yep you’ve guessed right… it was eating black berries on my ivy! In May... really?

“In autumn, ivy flowers attract insects, which in turn provide food for robins and wrens. When the black berries appear in the middle of winter, they're devoured by everything from thrushes, waxwings, starlings and jays, to finches and blackbirds.”
Top 10 plants for birds by Gardener’s World.com

“Calorie-rich ivy berries are loved by birds, including the song thrush, mistle thrush, redwing, blackbird and blackcap. Although the berries appear in November, birds don’t tend to eat them until around now – shorter-lived berries such as rowan and hawthorn are eaten first, leaving the longer-lasting ivy berries until last. According to the RSPB, ivy berries contain nearly as many calories as Mars bars, gram for gram.”
English ivy: berry good for birds by Kate Bradbury, February 19th 2015


Video grab of Song Thrush eating black ivy berries, May 25th 2015.


So, all these years as I’ve watched and watched with great anticipation for my Wisteria to flower towards the end of May, over on the other side of the pergola, there has been something going on that I never knew about until now. My ivy has been feeding the birds! Seeing is certainly believing :-)


Wisteria flower buds (flower opening almost there) May 26th, 2015.


Wow... this week has seen two firsts for my garden (the other being our Robin nest having chicks being fed). It's almost midnight and Mr/Mrs Hedgehog has just popped by... so its time to say good night from us both :-)


Hedgehog in feeding station, May 26th, 2015.


This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in May 2015.

4 comments:

Lisa Greenbow said...

Isn't it amazing that even though we are intimate with our garden there is always something new happening. Love the little hedgehog too. Happy day...

Midmarsh John said...

Ivy berries are very popular. I've often seen Blackbirds continuously leaping up to pick them when they couldn't perch close by. Also here they are eaten by Wood Pigeons and Starlings among others. The only problem is the mess they make when they pass through the birds. I have to keep cleaning one path as the colouring is a very strong stain.

Lowcarb team member said...

Just love the 'Song Thrush' eating those black ivy berries ...

All the best Jan

Shirley said...

Hello everyone, sorry for delay in replies – I’ve been enjoying a summer of getting the garden into check. Thanks for all your comments :-)

Lisa, it is and it is only since starting this blog I’ve really noticed what has been probably been there for some time. Ah… just been watching a smaller hedgehog feeding tonight which does make me happy that new ones still continue to find the food I put out for them. I see, through your blog, that you have been enjoying summer gardening too :-D

John, ah… now that explains marks I have found in the past. I guess berries have been getting eaten for years but it was great to see and I now know why the Blackbirds and Woodpigeons are seen bouncing along the spars of my pergola!

Jan, I might guess you would… :-)