Birds from your window. Blackbird.

Has any animal name in history taken less effort to think up than ‘blackbird’? It is such a lazy designation that it only actually describes half the species. Female blackbirds are brown. Whoever came up with ‘blackbird’ (presumably at five to five on a Friday afternoon in July, with a beer garden softly calling them) was no Carolus Linnaeas. Or maybe they were. Maybe it was him. Maybe the father of taxonomy liked a Pimms as much as the rest of us.

btw, while the subject is raised, stop putting cucumber in Pimms, please. It overpowers the flavours of the drink you are making. If you think cucumber is in some way more ‘grown up’ than strawberries you are kidding yourself.

Where was I? Oh yeah, identifying blackbirds. Trust me, this is going to be easy.

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

  • Is it black?
  • And smaller than a crow?
  • It’s probably a blackbird then.
  • Is it brown but otherwise the same as a blackbird?
  • Yeah, that’s probably a blackbird too.

Sounds confusing, I know, but in fairness nobody said this was going to be easy. Bear in mind that in a few weeks time you will be laughing about how easy identifying a blackbird is. “Oh, that black one? That’s a blackbird,” you’ll say, nonchalantly as anything, before pointing to the female next to it and whispering, “That one too.” “But it isn’t black,” your stunned companion will say. “I know,” you’ll reply, “I know.”

Please use the newfound respect and adoration you will then receive wisely. Thank you.