Hi - here is one of our blackbirds sunbathing today at lunch time. I noticed a bald patch several days ago, but only just saw it up close. I've included a crop of the bald patch, it looks quite lumpy. Does anyone know if this is 'normal' or has he been 'in the wars'?
That bird has got some serious feather damage - have a look at the front of the face and the tips of the tail and left wing. I would guess that the bird has either been in a serious fight, or had a lucky escape after a close encounter with a predator, possibly a cat. The skin on the rump does not look infected, and so unless it is a cat attack victim that has contracted septocaemia from the cat, it will have every chance to be OK in the end. It is the time of the year when blackbirds are due to start a complete moult, and so hopefully this one will be back to its Sunday best before the summer is out.
Thank you for that. There has been some serious fighting between the male blackbirds, but most of them have been too busy over the last few weeks, collecting food for their young, to do much more than chase off any other bird trying to pinch 'their' sultanas. I first saw the bald patch a few days ago, so presumably any sepsis would have made itself known by now.
By the way, he was sunbathing a couple of feet from the patio and when I opened the doors to throw out some sultanas for him he was there before they landed! So he's very responsive - just chilling out in the picture - it seems to be the day for it. We have a young dunnock been sunbathing in exactly the same spot for the last half hour or so!
It normally takes around 48 hrs for sepsis to make its presence known, so it does sound like your blackbird is safe.
You are lucky to have enough sun today for sunbathing where you are! Here at the Lodge we get the odd piece of blue sky, but mainly cloud and the occasional bit of rain - and it is windy. You can tell it is Wimbledon time of the year...
Yes , we had showers forecast but so far more sunshine than cloud! Bit of a breeze but we have a few sheltered spots were the birds (esp the songbirds - oh and the doves) like to sunbathe!
update on 'scraggy':
He appears to be growing some fresh feathers and doesn't look quite as bad as he did, but he's still unmistakable - and TA DA!!! he's successfully reared at least one fledgling. He looked really proud of himself when he brought his offspring to show us. Anyway here's a pic of him sunbathing and one from the front
Glad he is getting his feathers back (he seems a bit war torn on his chest, too), and great that he brought his baby to see you! He had a lucky escape from whatever stole his feathers!
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Dont forget birds have a preening gland at the base of their tail so that could be what we are seeing certainly in the last sunbathing picture thats what it looks like to me. Not that he has that many feathers to preen :-)
A very old Shropshire Lad.
So the warty looking bit is a preen gland - didn't know that. I've seen one of the youngsters displaying the same thing when it sunbathes. Yes his feathers are doing very well - tail still a mess though. If you think his front is tatty you should have seen it a few weeks ago - just feathers hanging. He was very jumpy for the first few weeks after whatever attacked him so I didn't even try to get pics of him - once he started to sunbathe though I could see that the bald patch on his back was far bigger than it looked when he was flying. Still - he's less timid now and less jumpy.