Sunday, 3 July 2016

Young blackbird or young song thrush?

It's often difficult to identify a fledgling because they can look so very different from the adult bird. Take starlings, for instance. The adults have dark plumage which gleams purple and blue when the light catches it, and they are covered with speckles. The adolescent birds, on the other hand, are pale and look more like thrushes.

You can see the spots quite clearly, and the bluish tinge on the breast of the adult bird on the second left of the picture.

This youngster, above, is a pale buff and its speckles are only just starting to show. With its chestnut wings, it looks like a different species altogether.

We are all familiar with the blackbird, the male with its egg-yolk-yellow beak and the browner female. When I saw this chestnut brown bird on the lawn, I thought it was a song thrush at first. Then I saw the dark flight feathers coming through on its tail and realised it was a young blackbird, though, with its speckly breast, it does resemble a suntanned thrush! What a handsome bird.

And here is its dad, who I have just this minute spotted on the lawn and managed to grab this shot before he flew off into next door's apple tree.