Black-Bird, or Turdus merula, a specie* of the thrush. When young, its plumage is of a rusty black ; but at the age of one year, being the period of its full growth, its feathers acquire a deep glossy black, the bill a bright yellow, and the edges of the eye-lids a similar colour.
The black-bird loves solitude, and chiefly frequents thickets, and the remotest parts of plantations and woods. In severe winters, however, it is sometimes compelled to approach barns and farm-yards, in search of food. It builds earlier than any other bird, and forms its nest in hedges and thickets, of withered grass and moss, plastered with clay, and covered with hay or straw. Its eggs are commonly four or five in number, of a blueish-green colour, marked with irregular dark spots. About the latter end of March, it has a young brood, which may be taken at ten or twelve days old. The only way to distinguish the young cock from the hen, is' by its colour; as that of the former is of a deeper black. When young, they are commonly fed with bread and milk, or curds; but the most proper nourishment is a sheep's heart chopped small, mixed with bread, and moistened with water: they should be fed every two hours, and kept very clean.
This bird, especially the male, has a very pleasing note, but too loud for a confined situation ; and it may be taught to whistle tunes to a pipe. It sings during the spring, and the early part of summer; is silent in the moulting season, and resumes its music in the latter part of autumn.