7 JUNE 1935, Page 16

A Blackbird's Economy A queer little coincidence in natural history

occurred to me this week. I had been reading (in the Field) an account of a blackbird which brought up two broods of young birds in the same nest, when the telephone rang. I recognized the voice of a near neighbour who is always acquainted with the progress of every family of birds in her garden from the foundation of the home to the flying of the young. I had been rung up to answer the question : Do birds often use the old nest twice ? And the question was prompted by the discovery that a pair of blackbirds. in the garden were using the nest, from which one lot of young had flown in April, for a second family. The use of a nest for two successive - families is common with the swallow, but, I think, rare in most species ; and surprisingly rare here, for the nests, especiallY of blackbirds, are extremely weighty, and solid structures Some of the bigger birds—buzzards and ravens, for example— continue to use an old nest, or at any rate its foundation', through a series of years ; but this gives time and the weather opportunity to cleanse and sterilize. I know one buzzard'i nest that is quite six feet deep. It has grown steadily by the superimposition of material year after year. Did thee blackbirds, I wonder, repair or spring-clean the nest for tbe