A Song Thrush, a Mole, and worms

Garth Lowe

Written 31st March 2015. Song Thrushes have been around my home at Old Storridge for all of the many years I have lived here. They appear to be doing quite well at the present time and I noticed at least half a dozen singing males within a half mile radius this spring. Our BTO Garden Birds Survey, which is done weekly, shows that from the first week in August 2014 to the third week in December none were recorded but I have seen in eight in recent weeks, probably because of the ivy berries outside our lounge window.

About a week ago I watched a Song Thrush hopping about on the ground in the open in the garden. Unusual because except for the singing males in spring they are normally tucked away in scrub and bushes feeding, and are harder to spot unless flushed. In my experience they appear more often in the open when nesting. This thrush did not carry food away so I thought my theory was wrong. However, today, in the rain, it was collecting worms from a flower bed, so I was correct in thinking they were nesting. Not so odd you might think but what followed was most interesting: I noticed the earth rise slowly by the bird. Yes, a mole was at work, and the bird gathered a beak full of worms quite quickly after that! Perhaps like birds, when a hawk is about and the small birds alarm call, the worms know a mole is about by its vibrations and started to wriggle, arousing the birds attention. The Thrush finally flew off to feed young but was back in the same place within a minute or two, so it knew it was onto a good thing. Nature never stops showing us new things!