|Irish Name:||Smólach ceoil|
|Scientific name:||Turdus philomelos|
Resident. Additional birds arrive from Continent in winter. One of Ireland's top 20 most widespread garden birds.
The Thrush most familiar to people. Roughly the size of a Blackbird, plain brown upperparts and buffish white underside, with prominent arrow-shaped black spots in lines down the breast and flanks. Legs pale pinkish-grey. Bounds along ground in search of worms. Males sit on high perch delivering song, which is loud and far-carrying. Usually occurs in ones and twos - never in flocks.
A close rival songster to the Blackbird, from which it mainly differs in its repetition of each phrase three or four times. Typical phrases include "cherry dew, cherry dew, cherry dew" and "knee-deep, knee-deep…." . Loud, fluty and far-carrying. Distress call is an agitated loud rattle or a quiet "seep" and contatct note a short "swick" , often given in flight.
Insects and other invertebrates, especially earthworms, with snails being a particular favourite. Song Thrushes will smash snail shells against stones, called "thrush anvils", to break them open, a method that very few other Irish birds ever use. Also berries and other fruit, including apples.
Breeds throughout Ireland - mainly in hedgerows and gardens. Nest in trees, bushes, ivy, brambles and sometimes conifers.
Common and widespread throughout Ireland.
Resident throughout the year. Population increase in Winter due to influx from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
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
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.