They lay their blue eggs in nests
which have a smooth mud inner surface
making them easy to recognize.
Song thrushes are early nesters
and in a mild season the young
may have hatched and be flying
by the end of March.

They are well known for feeding on large snails
and will use a hard object, usually a stone, as an anvil
to smash them on and break their shells.
Song thrushes will also feed
on worms and other invertebrates.
Berries, particularly from ivy and holly,
are increasingly important in colder months.

Both male and female song thrushes
have a warm brown colour in the upperparts
with a pale belly neatly spotted with black.
They have a creamy-yellow wash on the breast.
They may be confused with the larger
and more common mistle thrush.  The mistle thrush
has a head that sometimes looks too small for its body.

The song thrush has a melodious song
ringing out from a large bush or halfway up a tree.
The song consists of a variety of short phrases
which are repeated.
A loud rather boring song
from a bird at the very top of a tree
is likely to be a mistle thrush.

Some of the decline can be accounted for
by a series of cold winters
which have killed the young birds
but this does not explain all of the loss.
The use of slug and snail killing chemicals
has greatly increased on farmland,
in gardens and in parks, and this appears to be important.

Other changes in farming practices,
such as removal of hedges, have led to the loss
of nesting sites.  Ploughing in autumn rather than spring
has reduced the number of invertebrates
available as food for breeding birds.  Also worrying
is the increase in urban predators
such as magpies, crows, grey squirrels and cats.

Stop using chemicals in your garden.
Avoid at all costs using slug pellets.
Do not trim hedges between March and August.
Avoid overtidying the garden in autumn.
Keep a supply of windfall apples to put out
once the weather gets cold.
Keep a supply of fresh water available in the winter.

In order to help them in our three counties
of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
we need to find out much more about them.
If you see a song thrush
please tell us on the attached form.
Give us as much information
about the sighting as you can.

~Found in a pamphlet by the  Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, Oxford, England

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