Sorry if you've already seen these photos (and read the story) multiple times via my Twitter and Facebook profiles, but I just have to share...
So I was just putting my bike away and turned around to see the same old blackbird perched on the top of the door to the bike shed. "Silly bird," I thought. "Is it still trying to make a nest in here?" I carried on putting my bike away, but when I turned around again I saw the bird's tail poking out of the top of someone's bicycle basket. I got my phone out and crept over to see if I could get a funny picture of it sitting in the basket... Imagine my surprise when I peeked over the rim and saw these!
There followed some discussion among Facebook friends as to whether I should do anything about the situation. After consulting the RSPCA website, we decided that as the birds were healthy and being fed by their mother there was not too much cause for concern. However, I said I would attach a note to the bike - to warn the owner, in case they should suddenly turn up (after several weeks absence, clearly) with the intention of flinging a bag into the basket.
Well, I tried.
Unfortunately, Mother Blackbird didn't very much like our plan and quickly despatched the note as if it were an unexploded bomb, onto the grass outside. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to photograph this, but I was just standing there open-mouthed as she pulled off the (three pieces of) sticky tape with her beak and then carried the whole thing away.
Half an hour later, I recounted the story to my own mother over the phone. She is a bit of a twitcher and advised that the nestlings would be out of the nest within a couple of weeks so it was probably best to leave them to it. I'm also sure that putting a note anywhere else - like on the front of the bike shed - would draw too much attention and risk stressing out Mrs Blackbird even more. (She already has a loud, creaky gate and constant to-ings and fro-ings to contend with.) They seem okay where they are, so I will keep an eye out and report back once the chicks have (hopefully) flown the basket!