Having The Upper Hand…Or Would That Be Beak?


In recent days there has been a bit of a coup over in the crab apple at the top of the garden. Mama Blackbird has staked her claim to the crop. In fact the other morning I caught her seeing off the male blackbird in a most aggressive manner. No quarter given there then. He went off in a fluster.

Back in early December it was he who was King of the Crab Apples.   There had been no frost or snow to soften the fruit, and he was finding the going tough, adopting a fencer’s lunging stroke to slice off shreds of fruity flesh. Once in a while he’d (accidently) end up with a whole mini-apple wedged in his beak, too hard to scrunch in one pincer movement. Next would come a rapid descent to the garden path to sort himself out. Once or twice I thought he was in danger of choking, and wondered what the procedure might be – to unchoke a blackbird.  But then he hopped back on the fence and, if birds can cough, he coughed a few times and returned to lunging.




And so now all is clear. There was naturally a very  good reason why Mama Blackbird was biding her time, waiting for wintery weather to make easy pickings of the apples .



Apple Sorbet on a stalk. Mine! All mine! says Mama Merle.


Square Up #7

32 thoughts on “Having The Upper Hand…Or Would That Be Beak?

  1. This made me smile. And such lovely close images too. I had a blackbird pair in the garden yesterday. The male stood guard while the female helped herself to the suet and then when she had had her fill, he went in. Birds are mesmerising to watch.

  2. Beatiful clear photos of my favourite bird. I see the benefit of having a crapapple tree in the garden, great idea. My blackbirds are also fond of the cotoneaster. A lovely story Tish.

    1. Our crab apple is such a source of pleasure for most of the year. It’s a Japanese low growing strain (3 metres max) Evereste, and has gorgeous blossom. If I had a bigger garden I’d plant lots of crab apple trees.

  3. Such a beautiful series. I’m always in awe of bird photographers, although a baby rainbow lorikeet obliged the other day by coming close, staying put and being reasonably still. As for choking, when our baby rescue crane swallowed a bolt from the laundry supply my enterprising daughter interrupted HSC study, put her finger down his throat and then fed him milk to soothe any damage. And yes, he was a house bird with a name: Spike, from memory.

    1. That is one fabulous story, Meg. It needs a picture book to go with it. But I agree it’s hard to catch birds. I happened to be standing very still in the garden with my camera when Mrs Blackbird flew into the tree. So I held my breath.

  4. The Crabapple looks good! 🙂 Sadly, we had to remove ours after it caught a virus. Wonderful Blackbird photography, Tish. I see the same behaviour in our garden. I give the blackbirds a handful of raisins three times a day. The female is so busy chasing the male away – in the end the pigeons get more raisins than the bossy “no, no, no this is all mine!” blackbird!

    1. Thank you for your blackbird story, Dina. I like the way it adds to mine. But sorry about your tree. We had to move ours a few years ago, and were rather worried if it would survive. But it did!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.