A popular and once familiar garden the Song thrush numbers are declining seriously, so much so that it is now a Red List species.
The Song thrush has brown plumage and a speckled chest which is typical of a thrush. It lacks the white eye stripes of a Redwing and so can be mistaken for a Mistle Thrush. However, the Song thrush is smaller, with warm brown upperparts and a rather dark face. It lacks the white tips to the corners of the tail and the white edges to many of the wing feathers shown by a Mistle Thrush. Song thrushes frequently feed on snails which they smash against a stone or hard surface. They also eat earthworms, slugs, caterpillars, other invertebrates and fruit and berries in the winter.
Song Thrush numbers remained stable until the mid- 1970s after which they declined steadily, with an estimated reduction of 70% in farmland and 45% in woodland habitats between 1971 and 1995. There are lots of reasons for this decline, but it has probably been caused by the loss of their preferred feeding and nesting habitats. The loss of hedgerows and wet ditches removed feeding and nesting sites.
What is Lewisham doing?
A number of local Councils including Lewisham are trying to readdress the balance by writing Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPP) for the Song thrush. Youe can read Lewisham’s BAP here and by searching the site you will find other Council’s BAPs for the Song thrush.
How can you help?
There are lots of simple things that you can do to help the Song thrush;
Stop the use of slug pellets in your garden or allotment. Alternatives include developing low shrub growth to encourage birds and frogs which will help control the slugs and snails as well as other garden pests.
Remember to put out food for birds in winter – on the ground as well as on the bird table, to allow for ground-feeding species. Providing a source of water would also be beneficial.
- You could also create a woodpile to encourage insect larvae and snails, located near to a thick shrub or hedge to offer protection to song thrushes whilst they feed.
Finally, you can let us know if you have spotted a Song thrush in your garden/allotment or maybe out on a walk! Please use the comments box below to let us know where and when you saw them. THANKS!