Job Done

Dandelion With an Empty Nest
Dandelion With an Empty Nest

I once watched a group of Blackbirds on a lawn. At first, it just seemed to be four birds pottering around on the grass. As I watched, I realised that the group was actually two adult birds and two youngsters. There was very little difference in their size or appearance but there was a great difference in their actions and attitude. The two young birds hopped along keeping close to one of the adult birds. I assumed that this was their mother, as she would occasionally seem to become irritated with their attention and reluctantly push a morsel that she had intended for herself, into one or the other open beak. After a while, the teenagers became fed up with waiting to be fed an occasional scrap and started to prod around in the grass on their own account, still staying close to the parent birds.

This was when phase two of the operation came in to play. The other adult bird started to deliberately pick on the youngsters. As soon as one of them found a seed or insect, their father (I presume) would rush over and elbow them out of the way and commandeer the snack for himself. I felt that this was grossly unkind and I made a note to have a word with him, about caring and sharing, at the earliest opportunity. But young Blackbirds are quick on the uptake, within a few minutes the four birds were spread out over the whole of the lawn and the chicks were no longer showing any signs of dependency.

Here’s a Dandelion contemplating a job well done. He can sit back and put his feet up now all the birds have flown the nest. Might as well get a cup of tea and put the telly on.

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