ES Views: Wild London: Familiar song that welcomes spring

Blackbirds, typically a woodland bird, are adapting to city life: Jon Hawkins / Surrey Hills Photography

Across London birds are getting active and noisier, their chorus of songs heralding the longer and warmer days of spring.

No birdsong is perhaps more familiar than the blackbird’s — so much so that we often take its gentle incursion for granted against the rattle and hum of everyday city life.

Male blackbirds, sporting sooty-black plumage with a bright yellow bill and ring around the eye, are now singing their hearts out.

They have a distinctive springtime song, a flute-like trill that rolls out as a continuous, liquid warble for up to 10 seconds. They are proclaiming their territories and hoping to attract the attention of a mate.

Blackbirds were typically a bird of woodlands, but they have adapted well to city life and are now one of the commonest and most easily recognised birds in London, often doing better here than in the surrounding countryside.

Our gardens, parks and woods provide them with shelter and lots of tasty insects, worms and fruit. The female will even use scraps of crisp packet and other plastic litter to build her nest.

In the lights of our 24-hour city, blackbirds can sing well into the night and before the first glimmers of dawn. They are truly at home in a city that never really sleeps.

London Wildlife Trust campaigns to protect the capital's wildlife and wild spaces. Backed by Sir David Attenborough, President Emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts.