Blackbird Anting

blakbird5 p.m.: The workers of the ants’ nest under the paving slabs of our patio are getting rather excited but it’s not going to be perfect weather for the winged queens and males to take off on their nuptial flight as although it has been warm and humid we’re now getting flurries of breeze and fine, misty drizzle.

blackbirdAt first it was the song thrush that started anting – encouraging ants to run over its plumage – while the female blackbird hopped up the lawn and started pecking up the scurrying ants to eat them.

blackbirdNow she has taken to anting too, picking up the ants and letting them run about on her feathers. She does this at first from under the cover of the leaves of the peony that overhang the corner of the patio then comes out and continues by the bird bath.

sparrowThe sparrows are more interested in eating the ants. One male hops under the plastic bird bath which is supported by bricks, a space that the blackbird, which later reverts to simply eating the ants, cannot reach.