I am sooo relieved! The Blackbirds are back! After inspecting my appartement in early August they had disappeared. Went for a summer holiday, I don’t know. Mr. Blackbird was gone, the Mrs. dropped by once or twice a few days after he had disappeared, and the young ones which spent their time in another part of our yard were suddenly gone too. I went to check every day, nothing. My balcony got invaded by great tits (I still think that’s a stupid name for a tiny bird), who became rather self confident now that the bigger birds were gone. Yesterday when I had to walk Susi pretty early I saw that they were back. Mr. and Mrs. plus the kids. The were picking for worms in the big lawn. Susi was very excited when she spotted Mr. Blackbird. Just like me she had gotten used to him. She was wagging her tail, giving joyful barks and wanted to run to him – which of course I did not allow. I don’t want to frighten them away again.

Back home I cleaned the water bowls and filled them with fresh water, put out half an apple and a new food ball. Soon the Mrs. came by. She spent some time just sitting there, but not touching the food. I guess she was fine with all the worms she had found outside. And finally today Mr. Blackbird stopped by! I already thought he must have died. From the heat or a wasp sting, whatever. But here he was, looking terrible. I hardly recognized him. If he hadn’t behaved like he did all summer, greedily picking at the food ball, drinking, an then sitting in the lavender watching the yard, and if hadn’t closely examined the older pics, comparing them with today’s, especially checking the eyes, I couldn’t be sure it’s him. I really wonder what happened to him. And I wonder where they all have been hiding those past one and a half months.

I read that blackbirds start to molt in August, after the last offsprings have left for good. They go to safe places then as they cannot fly that well with so many feathers missing. Sure enough he had started molting at the beginning of August, losing lots of feathers all over his body. But his head seemed fine. He must have lost almost all of his feathers while he was gong, poor thing.

The Mrs., however, looks pretty as ever. She’s still young, probably in her second year. Maybe the molt isn’t that bad at this age.

Female blackbird