As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

... four colly birds

Yes, you read that right. Colly birds, not calling birds.

Welcome once again to our 12 days of Christmas. So what is this about colly birds then?

Well, the word 'colly' is an old word, related to one still in use, colliery. That is, a coal mine. Colly means as black as coal. So a colly bird is in fact a blackbird. Which also sings nicely, and hence would justify as a calling bird. So I guess it works out ok after all.

Blackbirds are many people's favourite garden bird. The jet black male and chocolatey brown female are regular visitors to gardens. Although they are not really agile enough for most hanging feeders, they are quite happy to use bird tables or to eat off the ground. especially important when the ground is frozen and cold, sending earthworms deep into the earth and beyond their reach. If you buy mealworms, especially live ones, you can make a firm friend from your blackbird. I have heard tell of them even coming into the house to pester homeowners to give them extra helpings!

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