A nice story posted by gbw in April 2009…
“For a number of years families of blackbirds have used the same nest in the garden. Each year I have fed them mealworms from when the young appear to the point where they have fledged. At the beginning of the season I keep the amounts relatively low and build up as the spring and summer warm up and the parent birds show signs of exhaustion as the drier, harder ground makes finding food more difficult. The norm seems to be 4 clutches of four young.
I put the food out in a plastic tray which I tie to the back rail of the garden bench and very quickly the female blackbird becomes quite tame and will tolerate me being close. I generally make sure she gets used to me because of the garden noise (mower, moving bins and so on) could be quite stressful and I wouldn’t want her to abandon the nest. She quickly realises when food is going out and is at the bench before I get there.
I was very suprised this year when I found the female waiting on the back rail of the bench when I was attaching the tray for the first time. Not only does this suggest that it is the same female from last year, but that she remembers the feeding routine and was able to anticipate it before I even came out with the white plastic pot! Good to see she survived the winter, and has what seems to be an outstanding memory.
This first batch has only been three young and they fledged this morning. Bad news for our two cats and italian spinone – they are going to be kept in for a few days until the young move away from the garden. The dog is more risk than the cats – she can sense the young and find them in the bushes.”
I think you are right about Blackbirds and their memories, we have a female bird that returns every year and we know it’s the same bird as she has a displaced wing feather which is the same every year, my office door is open to the area where the birds feed and a couple of years ago she started coming into the office looking for food and she was then given her own tray of mealworms, this year, having not really seen her since last year, she was back stamping round the office DEMANDING her tray which was, of coarse, immediately put out so she clearly remembers the routine!