I’ve mentioned before how a lot of our garden birds seem to go missing in August. The wood pigeons are still around, as is a ‘this years’ robin and a handful of sparrows, but that’s pretty much it apart from a blackbird.

In Autumn and Winter the garden is full of blackbirds, even in Spring their songs fill the air, but now they have all gone except one male with a very demanding youngster in tow.

Go into the garden anytime of day and you’ll see him with a beak full of worms, his off-spring, until recently, well hidden in the bushes but very vocal.

Today I got a good look at both of them. The ‘baby’ and I use the term loosely, is every bit as big, if not bigger, than it’s dad, but still has the remnants of the orange gaping mouth that demands food so successfully.

The parent looks run ragged. He is thin, in the middle of a moult, and is pestered incessantly by the chick. Why he has been left as a lone parent I do not know, what is for sure though he is working very hard at it.

As I said I saw them both in the open today for the first time. The parent was trying,  I think,  to teach the youngsrter how to eat ants (mmmm lovely!) he did this by sitting amongst them. They were all over him and obviously an irritation just like the chick which was begging relentlessly to be fed.

In the 10 minutes or so that I watched the parent didn’t give in once. So there is tough love even in the avian world. Needless to say a few hours later I saw him with a beak full of caterpillars.