Canon EOS 400D, Canon 400 mm L lens (fixed), 1/200th, f/6.3, ISO 1600
If you’re a gardener in southern Australia, this aptly named introduced bird, Turdus merula, is the bane of your life. Blackbirds will scratch around vigorously, all day, and your seedlings will disappear almost as quickly as you can plant them. They will displace all your mulch and leaf-litter, and spread stuff everywhere over your garden.
This particular male blackbird, who is a real beauty, follows me around the garden when I’m weeding and hops directly behind the ride-on mower, in his never-ending search for worms and insects. Sometimes when I’m working in the garden I will look up and find him less than a metre away, fixing me with his extraordinarily beautiful orange-rimmed eye as he waits for me to turn up something for him to eat.
When I was photographing him this afternoon (which was a bit dim and dark), I noticed that when he is actually hunting down his prey and getting ready to peck into the ground for an insect or a worm, he does a funny little wingflap thing:
I’ve never noticed this before …
With his striking orange beak, orange-encircled eyes and glossy black plumage, he is truly one of the beauties of the garden – although I frequently curse him!!