Home Forums Discussions Blackbird ‘Police Siren’ vocalisations

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  • Matthew Strahan
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      This morning a male blackbird was vocalising a call like a police siren. This occurred last year at the same time and in the same location for a number of days, even a couple of weeks. Its possibly the same bird. Its actually quite a distressing sound. Does anybody know why they do this?



      Dan Haywood
        Post count: 529

        Hi Matthew.

        The king of the siren imitators is the Starling– they mimic all sorts of bird calls and man-made sounds including speech. I remember one in Ullapool that imitated the sound indicating that Stornoway ferry doors were closing so well that we thought we’d missed our crossing.

        The song of the Blackbird is much more mellow and melodic and I’ve never heard them mimic but I believe that they can.

        As one of the purposes of bird song is to hold and maintain territory, perhaps increasing its repertoire by copying this jarring element from its environment gives it some ‘edge’ as it competes for space and mates.

        It’s also possible that this call has been passed down through the Blackbird generations!


        Matthew Strahan
          Post count: 4

          Thanks Dan. Yes I’ve heard starlings mimic oystercatchers, curlews and lapwings.
          There was an article in a tabloid newspaper not long ago about a blackbird making a similar call but I cant remember what the outcome of it was. It was driving the neighbourhood mad if I remember correctly.
          Several dog walkers who know me have commented to me about this particularly bird. My human interpretation is that it has lost its mate or cant get a mate. I dont think its mimicry, although the location is within audible distance of an A road and passing traffic. But this bird sounds to me like its trying to getting a message across. It went on for weeks last year.


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            Must say I find starlings most annoying. We have ne in Bare that mimics the buzzard cry – it has me looking up every time in the hope that an actual buzzard is overhead.

            25 years ago I lived in a mobile home for a couple of years and had an early form of mobile phone. My local starling there did a perfect imitation and often had me dashing in from the garden to answer it.

            Jeff B

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