I have a single English blackbird in my Australian garden. But oh dear, what a mess he makes of my paths with his incessant scratching around for worms and insects.  😨 I have been tempted to pop him in pie.


Profile of Blackbird.


OK, let’s  begin with some words in their defense.   In 1936 a Professor Engel,  from the German city of Potsdam, declared that the blackbird was the only living creature which could challenge humans in composing music. He said that those who believed the nightingale reigned supreme were wrong, because that bird only sang its hereditary tunes. The blackbird, however,  created his own, unique melodies, and had the artist’s hatred of repetition.

Well, I’m sorry  Professor, but worldwide polls put the nightingale at No.1 as a songster. And where is Mr. Blackbird?

The blackbird is considered the tenth most tuneful bird.


Now blackbirds  were brought to Australia in the 19th century because English settlers missed the familiar  dawn choristers, In fairness, many of our Aussie birds are a bit harsh and raucous (think cockatoos, for example!). The problem was that, like rabbits, starlings and sparrows, blackbird numbers increased until damage to crops called for drastic action.

In my home state of Tasmania the problems had really began in 1923, when eleven birds were deliberately released from the Hobart Zoological Gardens.  The culprits were thieves  after rarer birds, and the blackbirds were simply allowed to fly off. Ten years later the Government Fruit Board decided to put a bounty of one pound on the head of each bird.  At  a conference held by the Tasmanian Producer’s Organization in 1938, a speaker explained why the initiative failed. ‘Within a few weeks, one man brought in 70 and received  70 pounds. When enquiries were made it was found that the heads had come from the mainland. As a result the  Government withdrew its offer and the birds multiplied.‘ (Examiner, Aug, 20, 1938)

So there you have it, one wretched trickster was responsible for the proliferation of  the blackbird in Tassie.

By World War II numbers had increased so much that another bounty was imposed. Mind you, they were now  so easily caught that the bounty had been reduced to  what was simply pocket money for youngsters. Sixpence was paid per bird and two pennies for each egg.  Somone from the small town of Ulverstone spoke out against the destruction of the birds.



One sentence stood out for me. ‘ There is enough killing in the world at present.’ How true that was, and sadly the situation is just the same as I write this.  Of course my cheeky blackbird was never really in danger. The only pie I will be eating is a fruit mince one.🥧🎄

For a dairy farmer’s daughter from Ulverstone,  the best way to eat a mince pie is deconstructed, with cream!









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