A Song Of Sixpence

Juvenile Blackbird
Juvenile Blackbird

There are, it would seem, Blackbirds and BLACKbirds. Some blackbirds are black but they don’t make a special thing of it. Female blackbirds tend to go for brown – autumn colours are very chic this year. Young blackbirds wear whatever takes their fancy, if they’ve just grown a nice new coat of shiny, reddy-brown feathers shortly after fledging, they will be quite happy with them until they are past the extrovert teenager stage. When I saw this guy as I glanced out of the window, at first I was sure it was something other than a blackbird, though it certainly looked and behaved like a blackbird as I watched it longer. Google thought the RSPB might be helpful and they thought this page, showing various blackbird plumages, was what I was looking for. Isn’t the Internet helpful, how did we ever manage without it?

My friend doesn’t have a yellow beak yet so I’m guessing that he/she is still a juvenile, probably born this year – don’t youngsters grow up so fast these days?

Wikipedia kindly answered a question that I was thinking of raising here. When there are so many black birds around – Crows, Jackdaws, Rooks, to name a few, why was the blackbird the black bird that was named the blackbird? If you see what I mean. The answer is simple and obvious once you know what it is – like all good answers: In the Middle Ages, when people were going around giving things names, large birds were called ‘fowl’ and only small birds were called birds. So, you see, we could easily have ended up with the rook or the crow called the Blackfowl – but we didn’t. As the Blackbird was the only black bird sized bird, when they weren’t calling it an ouzel they called it a Blackbird.

So that clears that up. Do you know that has been bothering me for years!

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