Bird discussions and identification

He or she’d be on video having its Ist bath, unless there’s another bird bath nearby, which I doubt. This bird is a regular now drinking at the bird bath. I’ve pinpointed markings in the plumage.

Stream, puddle, water butt…? birds round here don’t seem to be too fussy about their bathing establishments.

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Anyone interested in bird ticks? Probably not!

I’ve noticed from closeup videos of small birds visiting my birdbath, that blackbirds carry ticks, noticeably on the back of the head, where the feathers fall out leaving the bird partially bald.

Photo here shows a tick on the side of the face, attached to the feathers. Presumably it will move to the back of the head.

In the video, you can see two tiny yellow ‘antlike’ creatures attached to a young blackbird’s tail – and if you look closely, you can see one of them crawling across the feathers. Can’t find any info about them on the internet so I assume these are tick larvae.

What I did find out from the internet is that small birds host, carry and spread ticks that carry Lyme’s Disease. And amongst the most significant carriers, more than deer , are blackbirds, thrushes and robins.

You live and learn!


That is most interesting, thank you @Bonzocat . The video left me feeling distinctly creepy though…

Young male blackbird, this year’s model, brand new by the looks of him, is bathing and preening – very scrupulous - but has a small tick just under his left eye.

Have seen a lot of birds at the birdbath over 3 years but only seen two blackbirds and one starling with a tick in place . None on robins.

Informative .pdf (2010) on French ticks -

I give up. Don’t really know what this bird is – about the size of a sparrow. Never seen one of these before.

Just looked at the video on YouTube and there appears to be two of them – one on the far side with a black cap.

They could be Bramblings?

Nearest likeness from the internet…


Looks like it. From seems to be a female.


Looks like you’re right Sue. says that Bramblings are seed eaters, that they like birch and coniferous forests, and mixed conifer and deciduous woodlands.

I’m surrounded by all that but it is only a few days ago that I scattered mixed bird seed around the bird bath – so that’s maybe why they’ve not been before now!


Bramblings tend to congregate in the winter, and come in packs, also mixing with chaffinches, which can make them hard to distinguish, especially when the males are between colours (brambling male heads go dark blue, almost black in the run up to the mating season. We have them here where we live in the Auvergne, but not every years, and their numbers vary. Like the chaffinch, they tend to feed off the seeds thrown to the ground from the feeder by the tits and nuthatches in our garden.

Yes, the black headed one will be the male showing off its mating colours.

Removed the picture, as I might have got that mixed up in my album with the chaffinches ! Sorry !

More Bramblings! Quite an exotic little bird.

Off thread here, but following the Bramblings is a tot of a baby hedgehog, then mousey & ratty who both live there.

I have seen these hedgehog babies in my old workshop, two of which still follow Mum around, but Mum is starting to push away one who still wants to suckle.

Workshop has plenty of food, water, bedding and hedgehog homes, so will they have the best chance. I think that in a mild winter hedgehogs can survive without hibernating, provided they have food, water and dry accommodation.

I might do a little indoor video of the hedgehogs in another thread.


Yes, they’re bramblings. We seem to get them in Spring and autumn but haven’t had any this year.

Don’t starlings begin their murmurations around now? Never seen one, except in videos! Must be quite something to see one for real.

So glad you posted this @Bonzocat. We have dozens of small brown birds flying around in a flock from tree to tree. I assumed they were goldfinches, as we have masses of those and I can’t really see them when they are flying against the sun. Just gone out to the garage and dozens were flying around and perching on a fig tree nearby so I could see the birds more clearly. They are all bramblings! :grin:

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A good place in Lyon to see starling murmurations used to be Boulevard Lafayette, but the council may have tried to move them since I worked there, as the pedestrians beneath suffered greatly (myself included) !

Checked the bird bath videos this morning – nothing special to see but there was a bird sound in the distance at 2am in the morning – quite distinctive - but you might need an ear trumpet to hear it!

Pitch black in the neighbourhood - no street lights.

The BirdNET app determined it to be a Water Rail but also said ‘highly uncertain’. No options given for any other bird.

Could it be a Blackbird? An alarm call?