An insect with 8 legs under a fledgling bird’s feathers. What is the insect?

I had this question about a something moving under a fledgling’s ‘s feathers. Can anyone help?

Trisha, My question is about a fledgling that was sitting on a branch about a foot away from me when I was hanging the birdfeeder back in the lilac trees.

It didn’t seem bothered about me being so close and as I watched it I saw a little lump move across its breast under its feathers, then move back again.

I thought a fly popped out then went back under the feathers and move about again. There seemed to be a bald patch at the top of its leg or possibly at the side of its breast so I wondered if there was an injury that I couldn’t see.

There is a local wildlife rescue centre that I decided to take it to after I tried contacting them but unfortunately couldn’t get through. However once I’d picked the bird up a whole host of previously unseen blackbirds started screeching and at the same moment, not a fly but a similar sized flattish crawling insect appeared through the feathers and quickly went back again.

I immediately put the bird down and as I’d taken the precaution of wearing latex gloves, I hoped that I hadn’t transferred any human smells and they will take care of it.

The insect had eight legs I think but I didn’t get much time to count. I’d imagined that mites would be smaller than this but although I’ve tried searching the Internet I haven’t found anything useful. I was wondering if you have any idea what it could be, and if I see this fledgling again, does it need help or is this normal life for blackbirds.
Kind regards,


I have been asking people and looking on the Internet, but wondered if you could help.


Sparrows killing blackbird chicks

From Carol,

Hi Trisha,
I actually witnessed a sparrow flying into our bay tree where a female  blackbird has been feeding three chicks in her nest.

She was collecting worms for them early this morning and nothing had occurred.  I then saw the mother blackbird and the father walking around the bottom of the nest apparently with nothing to do.

I went out to the garden, and found a blackbird chick dead on the ground under the bay tree and on further investigation the nest was empty.  All this happened in about 15 minutes.

I am looking at the blackbird parents now in the garden looking very dejected.  There are two sparrow nests also in our garden in quite close proximity to the bay tree.

I hope the blackbirds lay another clutch of eggs and have better luck.

All quite upsetting really.


Carol, Thank you for sending me this sad story.
I hope the blackbirds have another clutch of eggs as well.

It’s lovely that so many people are concerned about our garden birds – and Carol is one of them.

There is a possibility it could have been a magpie, but I don’t think so in that short space of time.

I have received other details of sparrows attacking  birds.  If you read through the Catergories DO SPARROWS ATTACK OTHER BIRDS and also BIRD EATING BIRD you will be able to read some strange things.

Carol, thank you for sharing this with us.  It reminds us that we know so little about the life of garden birds.

Please let me know if the blackbirds do have another clutch of eggs (even if you have to send me an emai)


I am having a problem with my website. If you want to write a comment but find there is a problem then please email me a

Low Roofed Bird Table and flat packed meshed bird feeder

This low roofed bird table keeps the bird food dry and the birds protected when they are feeding.  It also makes it difficult for pigeons and rooks etc to get at the feed.  I have been told that some persistent pigeons have managed to get some food.

I have not used this bird table yet, so I cannot comment.

Please email Trisha at






Here is a link to a plastic covered wire mesh ground feeder that is lightweight and can be folder for ease of posting.  I have used one and they do work

Meshed bird feed cover – for sale. Can be flat packed for posting

Wire mesh bird table to keep the pigeons out!

I was fed up of rooks, crows and pigeons eating all the bird food I put out.

Here is a bird feeder with 25mm wire mesh round it.  One side is hinged for access for putting bird food in.  The holes for access are just large enough for birds up to starling / blackbird size.

Another good point is that this bird table keeps bird food protected from the wind, rain and snow.  It also protects the birds from the worst of the weather when they are feeding


meshed bird table


For more information about price and delivery please email

Below is a view of the bird table with the door open.




YouTube – Details of a meshed ground feeder

A Dark Morning


I sometimes put bird food out before it becomes really light.  The other morning I took a torch!  I know I must be mad, but there is a reason for this and the reason is – blackbirds!  Once or twice in the early morning I’ve looked out of the window and seen a dark shadow that turns out to be a Blackbird.  It was at the bird tables and the ground feeder looking for food and there wasn’t any.

Now, when I put the early morning bird food out I see 3 or 4  blackbirds at the bird table taking advantage of the quietness of it all.

During the day when the bird table and ground feeder has visits from many of the smaller garden birds I never see a blackbird.  I only see them scurrying about when the garden is quiet and that is usually early morning or early evening.  I enjoy feeding the garden birds and know it helps them through the winter, but apart from that all the garden birds that come to my bird feeders really cheer up that corner of my garden. They flit in and out of the hedges and among the hedge rows and  make me laugh.




6.15 am The blackbirds come first and frantically peck at the bird food.  They must watch me as I put the bird food out because as soon as  I turn to walk away they are there on the bird tables!


I have some bird tables that we’ve made that keep the rooks and crows out.  One of them is an ordinary bird table with a low roof.  It is so funny to see the blackbirds on this bird table.  They have their heads down and ‘crouch’ as they eat their early morning breakfast.


Then the sparrows arrive and, believe it or not, they scare the blackbirds away.  As soon as the sparrows arrive the blackbirds disappear.  They sometimes run across the grass to peck some bird food from the ground and then quickly run away again.


I’ve been told that sparrows are the ‘thugs’ of the bird world.  I wonder if this is so.


There are a variety of birds ‘queuing’ to get to the bird tables.  Bird Cafe.


Blue tits, black birds, sparrows and many more swooping down from the sky and hopping from the hedges onto my birdtables.

When the sparrows have had their fill the blackbirds will be back.

Meshed bird feed cover – for sale. Can be flat packed for posting

Hello Ellyn,

Here are the photographs of the bird feed cover that we have emailed each other about.  I am looking into posting prices to the USA.

If you decide on the other one that is fine

Here is some information.

This is a useful, basic cover which lets the smaller garden birds in so they can feed safely.

It keep out the larger birds and keeps the garden birds safe as they feed.

We do have a cover that can be put on when the weather is bad.

We have made it so it can be flat packed to make postage easier

If anyone else is  interested please get in touch









If you are interested

Please contact


This birdtable keeps bird food dry, keeps birds safe while feeding and keeps predators and larger birds off the b

This birdtable keeps bird food dry, keeps birds safe while feeding and keeps predators and larger birds off the birdtable


The low roof of the bird table means that only garden birds can get in. The other side has an opening that is big enough for blackbirds and thrushes to get

The low roof of the bird table means that only garden birds can get to the bird food. The other side has 3 circular openings that is big enough for blackbirds and thrushes to get



These circular holes allow blackbirds and thrushes to enter the bird feeder


I received this comment: –

Sparrowhawks do not like the colours yellow black and white.

I put a yellow high visibility jacket on one of my hens following a failed attempt to take her – touch wood seems to be working along with scary eyes on the shed roof.

Refective items made no difference s.h. took my only remaining fantail dove. Trial and error!


Hello Paula, I’m so pleased you have tested this with trial and error. It is the only way isn’t it?

Yellow, Black and White. Interesting. What a lovely idea to put a yellow high visibility jacket on one of your hens. I can imagine it strutting around.

Scary eyes on the shed roof as well.  Brilliant, but I am sad that you lost your last fantail dove to a Sparrowhawk.  Where your other fantail doves taken by sparrowhawks as well.

I’ll put this as an article on Bird Table News. I could help other readers as I know how difficult it is to  feed birds when sparrowhawks are around and how many garden birds get killed by sparrowhawks.