For the first time in many years our garden has been visited by a song thrush, Turdus philomelos. Between 1970 and 1995 it is estimated that the population decreased by 50%, perhaps even as much as 70% vanished from farmland. The loss of hedgerows for nesting and changes to land use decreasing the number of earthworms available for food are probable causes.
They used to be a common sight in gardens cracking open snail shells on our paths and delighting us with their beautiful song. You can listen to some audio of a song thrush here.
In Chaucer and Shakespeare’s time they were known as throstles, which I think is a much more pleasing name for them. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bottom sings;
« The ousel cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill;
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill. »
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