It’s Day 10 of turning the pages in this Ladybird book of British Birds from the 1950s with text by Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald and illustrations by Allen Seaby:
“The Blackbird is the very black bird with a bright yellow beak that you see in the garden, and is one of the commonest birds in England.”
Or at least the male is.
“It is only the cock that is black with a yellow beak.”
We’ve now replaced the words cock and hen with male and female. I think I could get a Facebook ban if I kept posting the word ‘cock’ in 2018.
This 1950s Ladybird series is of British Birds yet despite the numerous mentions of England, there’s no mention of Scotland or Wales at all.
It’s forty years since I sketched Blackbirds in my childhood nature notebooks:
I’d just had my thirteenth birthday and already knew about ‘sexual dimorphism’. You do at that age.
Here’s one of my favourite photographs of a cock Blackbird:
And here’s the speckled hen:
The yellow eye ring is spectacular:
Here are my close-up shots where the beautiful facial feathers are clear:
“Abundant in gardens”, I wrote in 1976. It’s still true.