Bird of the Week: Song Thrush

Once familiar garden birds with distinctive signs of passage, this little bird is rather rarer these days.

By Jamie Wyver
Published 10 Jun 2019, 11:09 BST
Song thrushes are in decline due to the lack of nesting sites, such as in hedgerows ...
Song thrushes are in decline due to the lack of nesting sites, such as in hedgerows and trees.
Photograph by Paul Chesterfield

These were once very familiar garden birds with brown backs and spotted fronts, hopping around the lawn in search of food. You could always tell if a song thrush was around by the collection of broken snail shells lying on their favourite ‘anvil’, a rock they used to smash open the molluscs to get at the soft bodies inside. They also have a distinctive way of singing, repeating notes or phrases three or four times.

Evidence of the song thrush included its unique call, and broken snail shells on hard surfaces.

However song thrushes have vanished from our gardens in recent decades, and their numbers have also fallen drastically on farmland. This is due to the loss, and decline in quality, of the places they need to feed and nest. Thrushes prefer nesting in trees and shrubs, so with fewer hedgerows in the countryside they have struggled to find suitable locations. In addition, drainage of agricultural land has reduced the numbers of worms and other small creatures within easy reach of the birds.

You can help birds like the song thrush by putting back some of the missing elements they need. A dense hedge or thick tangle of ivy are good for many kinds of garden birds including thrushes, giving them a cosy but secure place to build a nest. Find out more here.

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