12 JULY 1957, Page 39

Country Life

By IAN NIALL A BLACKBIRD'S song takes a lot of beating, and the bird is one that no one would want to he without. There is even something to be said for the spring challenge of the cock birds around dusk each day early in the year, and no doubt they do as much good work in the garden as a thrush. Here. however, 1 for one draw the line. They are fond of fruit. I sometimes wonder if those who say birds haven't much sense of smell or none at all arc right. If a blackbird doesn't scent ripeness then he is very, very capable of judging ripeness in all kinds of fruit. He knows just when to steal strawberries-.-the hour before they are to he picked! He can assess the sweetness of cherries, the wine-content of dessert gooseberries and blackcurrants. Loganberries and raspberries are detected and worked upon with feverish haste and incredible greed, at exactly the hour when they arc ready for lunch. I went up to pick a few blackcurrants and gooseberries for a pie this evening and found I shared the crop with a cock blackbird He didn't like it when I saw him off and scolded angrily as he went. What havoc he had wrought while he had the hushes to himself!

I thought darkly of the garden gun I once possessed.