Is my Mistle Thrush muddled? #Birdwatch

Mistle Thrush
Mistle Thrush in my garden 21st January 2013

During the snows of the last week, we’ve had a new visitor to the garden. A Mistle Thrush.

I don’t think it arrived just to perform for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, though when I do my hour of recording tomorrow morning, I’m really hoping it puts in an appearance.

But, it’s feeding habits have somewhat surprised me, especially considering the details put out by BBC Nature yesterday.

Mistle Thrush feeding on bird seed in my garden on 21st January 2013 (and ignoring the apple I put out for it)
Mistle Thrush feeding on bird seed in my garden on 21st January 2013 (and ignoring the apple I put out for it)

When I took these photo’s on 21st January, I had put out some apple halves for it to feed on, which it totally ignored. The next day I chopped it up much smaller, and the bits remain totally uneaten. Neither do we have any berries on the bushes around our garden, because we don’t have the space for those sort of shrubs.

Instead this Mistle Thrush much prefers the birdseed that has fallen from our bird feeders (more about which tomorrow). So, what I’m wondering is whether despite their known preferences for fruit and berries, actually the Mistle Thrush is a little bit more adaptable than we might have thought? Or, is my Mistle Thrush just muddled… or desperate, because of the weather?




  1. Pretty sure that’s a song thrush; much cleaner, smaller. Mistle thrush is closer to Blackbird in size and looks less elegant. Then you have fieldfares which look like they have been dragged backwards through a hedge.


  2. ps: am not saying you’re wrong, I can’t judge the size from a photo; but it looks a lot more yellow and cleaner about the head / ear coverts in the pic than I expect from a Mistle, so I am guessing it’s smaller too.


  3. Oh, um… now you could be right? Looking at the books again, the more yellowy feathers below the wing suggest it’s a Song Thrush doesn’t it? But I would have said it was at least as big as our Blackbirds, which led me thing it at to be a Mistle Thrush; that and the fact the Song Thrushes are meant to be rarer. I’ve actually posted this to HOS so hopefully several folk will confirm whether I was being dim.

    Seriously rusty birder alert!


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