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Country notebook by Liam Mulvin

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 20, 2014

Moorland
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I watched a blackbird out in our garden the other day. She was hardly the epitome of the early bird catching the worm. It was evening.

She was dashing around the lawn and seemed to be absolutely determined to chase the smaller birds away. I don’t know what her reasons were, but she soon cleared the lawn of any other bird except herself. At different moments, she would stop, and peck furiously at the grass at her feet.

I watched her, and then to my amazement, she pulled a fat juicy worm out of the lawn, and swallowed it like a small child sucking up a piece of spaghetti. She proceeded to continue dashing back and forth across the lawn, before pausing again.

Is it true that these birds can hear the worm beneath the ground? She was giving a very good impression that she could.

After the mad dash across the lawn she would stand with head cocked as if listening, before stabbing her beak into the ground and dragging another hapless worm out for dinner.

It was all very impressive and I admired her acute sense of hearing. It was a while later that she really amazed me. I think she actually spotted a worm just by looking at it.

Possibly ten yards away from her, she suddenly whipped her head around and gazed fixedly, at a spot over beside our border. Her gimlet eye pierced a spot on the ground before she dashed across and scooped out yet another worm.

I can’t believe she could have heard that worm, but it seemed a long way away to have seen it. Whatever sense she used, I do know the worm was a meal in mere moments, and that did impress me.

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