In a ten minute break from work, I found my hands wandering to the graphics tablet to produce this quick sketch of a song thrush – the heroes of the past few weeks. Perhaps I have never tuned in to them before, but it seems like they are super-abundant and very noisy at the moment.
I can also now add them to the list of birds I have heard imitating others. Curlews are now well on with their territorial displays on the hill, and the confusion and excitement of their competition must be made all the more maddening when thrushes join in with an almost perfect curlew impression. Starlings also copy the curlews, and I’m sure I can hear some smaller, shriller notes of curlew in a few of the skylark songs too.
I enjoyed the starlings’ immaculate blackcock impressions a few years ago when a particularly courageous cock bird spent several consecutive mornings calling beside a windbreak where they were breeding. They picked it up in no time and the sound reproduction was so accurate that I was fooled by it several times. Like children, they soon got bored of their new trick and started to copy the kestrels which trilled and bickered by their nest nearby.
I suppose that imitation is the highest form of flattery.