Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Eurasian Blackbird

I thought I was done with birding on Monday, but after taking the train back to Zurich on Wednesday evening in preparation for an early flight back to the states in the morning, I found myself in my hotel at about 5:30 PM. Looking out my window, I saw some European Magpies flying between trees near the hotel and across the street in a parking lot. I realized that I was in a residential neighborhood so I decided to head out and try my luck.
At first I ran into private streets and was a bit disappointed, but then I noticed a playground and thought I might find a park. Better than that, I found a trail that followed a stream which wound its way through a large part of the city.
Along the way was a beautiful cemetery. It seemed that every plot was planted with colorful flowers. It was in this cemetery that I found some Eurasian Blackbirds. They are indeed black, but they aren't blackbirds. They're actually thrushes and are in the same genus with American Robins.
The female in the bottom image was behaving very similarly to a Robin, hopping around in the grass and pulling worms from the soil.
The male in the upper two pictures was singing some of the most beautiful bird songs that I have heard. In fact, this wasn't the only time that I had heard them, but it was the first time I had gotten good looks at the birds.
After some research, I found that these birds are the basis of the poem "Sing a Song of Sixpence".
It's also the subject of one of the Beatles' hits "Blackbird".

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