It’s a wonder that we’ve got any newts left! I didn’t see her catch it but by the time I got my camera she’d finished despatching it. My 40 second movie has a soundtrack of me cursing as she flies to the centre of the lawn and I chase around to the kitchen to get a better view, but at least I caught a frame of her before she disappeared into the hedge.
blackbird eating a newt
The female blackbird has caught another smooth newt and is dealing with it in a corner of the lawn
On Saturday 16 May this female blackbird caught five smooth newts in our garden pond. She either waits in the centre of the pond, perching on the blanket of duckweed, or stalks along the edge. As soon as she catches one she takes it to a grassy spot or to the raised bed behind the pond and dispatches it then eats it herself. We’ve never seen her taking one away to feed her young. We had already spotted her doing this a few times during the week but now that she’s become so adept I’ve now raked away the duckweed to give the newts a chance of survival.
blackbird catching newts
blackbird catching newts (sketch by Richard Bell)