Blackbird singing in the dead of night

We usually write about the park but today we are branching out a good half-mile, as far away as the junction between Frome Road and Manor Road on the A361.

There are trees around the roundabout, and street lights, and a group of blackbirds puts on a concert, just above the level of the lights, at about eight o-clock most evenings when it isn’t raining. If there is a lot of background traffic noise, songbirds can turn up the volume of their song and these performers have turned theirs up to high. Blackbird song is always beautiful but sung as call and response, like this, it can be stunning.

Here is a recording of blackbird song made by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin.

Usually, it is the yearling male blackbirds that start to sing this early in January and there seems to be three or four of them in the trees and gardens around the junction. They may well be last year’s nestlings from the park or they could be siblings from a single nest somewhere in Manor Road.

Of course, they aren’t really putting on a concert; blackbird song is all about war and sex. It’s a life-or-death competition for territory, local dominance and eventually for a female and the chance to breed.

If you are walking to Frome Road’s Tesco Express in the dark this evening, for half a litre of milk and a loaf of bread, pause at the roundabout and listen out for them.

Here is one of the park’s blackbirds:

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