Turdus pilaris

Fieldfare, photo: Kristi Kirsimaa

The fieldfare is one of the most common thrushes living in our gardens. Their common name in Estonian, ‘multi-coloured thrush’, describes them well, as their body is covered in different colours: their head and rump are grey, the back is brown, the crop is yellowish, and the bottom of their necks is white. At the same time, the colours do not follow a certain pattern. Fieldfares can always be heard: their every movement is accompanies by a chattering call, which can seem maliciously disturbing. They protect their nests and can attack even people in doing so – at first, they nose-dive and flutter, and if that does not work, cover the attacker in stools. This means that birds who normally eat the eggs of other birds always keep a safe distance from the nests of fieldfares. Fieldfares usually nest in all kinds of forest stands, but lately, more and more of them are migrating into cities, where they find suitable nesting sites in parks, cemeteries, and even on the roadsides. Fieldfares nest in colonies. It is also often common that two or three pairs have found a suitable place for a nest on the same tree. Their nest is big and heavy; they use dried stalks, leaves, and sprigs from the previous year as well as manure and soil for building them. What makes the nest particularly heavy, however, is the reinforcing padding made from clay.