This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Blackbird (Turdus merula) belongs to the same family (Turdidae) as the missel and song-thrush, all included in the subfamily Turdinae, taking up its abode among plantations and copses near the habitations of man. The colour of the male bird is a uniform deep black, relieved only by the bright orange-yellow of the bill and circle round the eyes. The female has the bill and circle round the eyes blackish-brown, the throat yellowish-brown, and the under-parts rusty brown. The young birds resemble the females, and the males do not acquire the yellow bill till after the second moult. The song of the blackbird is a fine, rich, mellow, and flute-like strain, but is not so varied nor so continued as that of the song-thrush. It is heard for a considerable period of the year, as two or three broods are produced in a season. The nest is made early in spring in a thick hedgerow, a low close bush, an ivied tree or wall or even the side of a ditch. It is formed of fibrous roots, small sticks, grass stems and moss, bonded internally with a coating of mud and lined inside with fine dry grass. The eggs are generally four or five in number, of a bluish-green colour, profusely spotted with brown. The young are chiefly reared upon worms.
The food of the blackbird consists of worms, mollusca (chiefly in the egg state as regards snails and slugs), ground insects and their larvae, varied with wild fruits. It is particularly fond of strawberries and bush fruits, cherries, pears, plums, and sometimes apples, doing immense damage during dry weather when other food is difficult to obtain. Albinos, or white blackbirds with red eyes, are sometimes found.