There are blackbirds (Turdus merula) nesting in the ivy growing on the garden wall here. I noticed when I saw a female eagerly pecking at the half apple we’d put under the bench and flying into the ivy with a beakful of it. Seeing her going back and forth a few times, I decided to add a little extra for the young birds and went out to the compost bays to dig out some worms. These went into a plastic tray with a bit of the compost and the tray was put under the bench. Blackbirds can find their own worms, of course, but it’s interesting to see them eagerly gathering up the worms and taking them off to feed their young ones.
Within five minutes of the tray being put down, the female had spotted it and came to investigate. She gathered up a beakful of worms, scattering compost in the process, and went looking for the young birds who have already left the nest. There are at least two fledgling blackbirds in the courtyard and their slightly peevish cheeps can be heard coming from under plants and between pots.
Checking out the tray of compost and worms
If the blackbird didn’t find a fledgling to give the worms to after about three minutes of looking and clucking, she flew into the ivy and gave them to the nestlings instead.
First worm selected
Her flight into the ivy and then out again both happened so fast that it was hard to capture on camera but I did manage to get one of her tail sticking out of the leaves.
Going into the nest in the ivy
If you have birds nesting nearby and a compost heap or bin with a ready supply of worms in it, you could try this at home and help to give the young birds a good start. Put the tray of worms somewhere sheltered, but where you can still see it like under a bench or shrub, and watch to see which birds come to take the worms and then where they go with them.