The current issue of Canberra Bird Notes 30(4) p.160 includes
an Od Ob I wrote about a pair of Common Blackbirds that nested
in our scarecrow's coat pocket. I described how we watched as the male,
Pinto (so called because he was a part albino), disappeared into the pocket
carrying cotton threads he'd purloined from Scary Joe Crow's frayed
Subsequently, I came across the following: "While the male [Common
Blackbird] defends the breeding territory, the female selects the nesting site
and then constructs the nest. She also performs all the incubation but is
assisted by her mate in feeding the young." (Boles, 1988).
In deference to Walt Boles' assertion, we have no doubt it was the male we
saw carrying the cotton. I checked a few more Common Blackbird references but
none described nest-building in any detail.
To strike an anthropomorphic note, if Pinto wasn't nest building, why
was he toting cotton? Was he auditioning for the lead role in a biopic
about Paul Robeson? Or was he into needlepoint? Then again, he may have been
responding to pressure to assist with home duties like a good SNAG
blackbird of the 21st Century.
John K. Layton.