A SNAG blackbird?

To: "'John Layton'" <>, "'chat line'" <>
Subject: A SNAG blackbird?
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 07:59:30 +1100

BWP V p961 ‘mainly by female, occasionally assisted by male’.


From: John Layton [
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2006 7:12 PM
To: chat line
Subject: [canberrabirds] A SNAG blackbird?


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 trowsers.


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.


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