Blackbirds and Young

country lad having taken the nest of some blackbirds containing young ones, made off with it, but was closely pursued by the parents, who tried to peck his face so as to make him give them up. Mr. Jesse relates a similar instance, where a pair of old birds followed a boy into a house, pecking at his head while he was carrying off one of their young ones. People little think of the misery they cause when they rob the birds of their nestlings.

The bird's nest is thus described:

Now put together odds and ends,
Picked up from enemies and friends:
See bits of thread and bits of rag,
Just like a little rubbish bag.

Blackbird  (Turdus merula ), is a member of the thrush family. The plumage of the male is quite black, and the beak yellow; the female is dark brown above, and greyish brown on the under parts, with a brown beak. It is shy, solitary, nests in March, and has two broods during the season. The nest is plastered inside with mud; four or six blue eggs, speckled with black, are laid. The bird feeds mainly on insects. It is a mocking bird, but not so good a songster as the song-thrush. In confinement it can be taught.

The American Crow-blackbird or Purple Grackle is restricted to the region east of the Rockies, the Blue-headed Grackle is confined west of the Mississippi, while the Rusty Grackle pervades the whole continent.

The Red-winged Blackbird breeds in Mexico and North America south of the Barron Grounds; winters in southern half of United States and south to Costa Rica.

The blackbird is frequently an inhabitant of the woods; but in the winter it comes into the gardens of the villages and towns. It is very fond of fruit, and thus often ravages the orchards and strawberry gardens.