|Irish Name:||Smólach mór|
|Scientific name:||Turdus viscivorus|
Common resident. Additional birds arrive from the Continent in winter.
About the same size as a Blackbird. Has a very upright stance in comparison to either Song thrush or Blackbird. The face is white with some black markings, while the eye has a distinct white eyering. The crown, nape and back of the Mistle Thrush are plain brown. The throat and upper part are white with some black streaks. This is bordered by a brownish smudge across the breast, with the rest of the underparts white with black spots. The rump is pale grey-brown, while the tail is brown - the outer tail feathers being white. The legs are pink in contrast to the dark colouring of the Fieldfare
The most commonly heard call is a loud, rattling “prrrrt”, usually given when a predator is spotted or another bird lands in a favoured berry tree. The song is very similar to that of the Blackbird, though less musical and the phrases are more widely spaced.
In winter, Mistle Thrushes feed mainly on berries and will vigorously defend a favoured tree from all other birds. Also feeds on insects and earthworms.
Breeds throughout Ireland, though less commonly in the south. Mistle Thrushes are less frequently seen in suburban gardens than Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, favouring larger parks and rural areas.
Irish Mistle Thrushes are resident, with some limited immigration of Continental birds.
Countryside Bird Survey & Garden Bird Survey.
Widespread throughout Ireland but less common than Song thrush.
Numbers in Winter bolstered by South-Westerly migration of Scottish population.
Blog posts about this bird
Large influx of Scandinavian finches to Irish gardens last winter. The Irish Garden Bird Survey has begun again!
On Their Way
Common Species, increases and decreases
Avian Flu and Trichomonosis in Garden Birds
Supporting the Survey
For full details about the survey, how to take part and looking after your garden birds, click here.
Where have all the Garden Birds gone?
Our annual Irish Garden Bird Survey returns at the end of this month! In recent weeks we’ve received lots of emails and phone calls from people around the country, reporting feeders completely untouched and barely a bird to be seen in their gardens. So, where have all the garden birds gone?The first thing to say is that this is entirely normal and expected, and we see something similar happen at this time every year. If I asked you to cast your mind back to last winter, when the weather was cold, the days were short and the leaves were off the trees you could probably tell me about a long list of birds visiting your garden, but you’d likely be thinking of a bit later in the year rather than the end of October and start of November. That’s one of the reasons surveys like the Irish Garden Bird Survey are so important. By having a written record, we can ensure we’re comparing like with like over the years.
Reliable ReturnFrom late summer onwards, most birds are finished nesting and therefore aren’t restricted to finding food in the immediate vicinity of their nests. They can travel wherever they want, and wherever the food is. This coincides with a time when there’s an abundance of berries, nuts, seeds and insects, from August to October. It's also a good way for the birds, especially the juveniles, to explore the wider landscape and get an idea where there's suitable habitat that they may need for nesting or feeding in the future. This year appears to have been a ‘mast year’ for many trees and shrubs, meaning they’ve produced a bumper crop for the birds to enjoy. So, the birds don’t really need peanuts and seed feeders as they have plenty of fresh natural food. This mast year is likely the reason we've had so many people contacting us this year regarding 'missing' garden birds, compared to previous years. As the weeks go on these natural food supplies will get depleted however, and the days will get shorter and colder, and over the course of November we’d expect to see the usual suite of bird species gradually returning to gardens. The first ones back will likely be the Tits, Robins and Dunnocks, with Blackbirds, Thrushes and Finches becoming more regular into December. The Irish Garden Bird Survey starts at the beginning of December each year (Monday 28th November this year), as this coincides with many birds having returned to gardens, though we continue to see a build in numbers until the new year.
You can download the form for this year’s Irish Garden Bird Survey here.
More info about the Irish Garden Bird Survey and looking after your garden birds can be found here.