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Showing posts from December, 2011

Blackbirds

Walking my dog today, I noticed that a few of the feijoas are flowering. The feijoas made me think of blackbirds, Turdus merula.

Unlike the thrush which sings through the winter, the blackbird remains silent until the spring when it becomes an annual competition among birders to record the first blackbird singing. The song usually ceases in December but has been heard as late as February. The blackbird's song is very much the largest part of the dawn chorus here in town and far out numbers the Tui's. Last summer there was a blackbird which persisted in singing at night on top of the old council building accoss the road, something to do with the street lighting, I suppose.

Ornithologists have noted that birdsong uses the same musical scales as we do. Certainly many composers and poets have taken a great deal from birdsong. Mozart had his pet starling and Beethoven his blackbird, which may be heard in the opening rondo of Beethoven's violin concerto in D, Opus 61. In man…