AN AMATEUR photographer has captured an incredibly rare image of a female blackbird catching a fish.
David Smith spotted the female blackbird behaving “erratically” at a pond in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway on Monday.
The 29-year-old youth worker initially thought the female bird was having a bath or drink.
He was shocked when he captured the blackbird “fishing” for her prey as they usually eat worms and slugs.
Incredibly, he managed to capture the exact moment the blackbird swiped a fish out of the water.
The RSPB have confirmed that it is “unusual” for blackbirds to eat fish as they prefer worms and slugs.
The charity believes that recent cold weather has made it harder for the species to find food.
Speaking today, David said: “ I was on my daily outing along a small stream just by where I live in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway.
“As you exercise there is always a chance of seeing kingfishers, and perhaps if you’re really lucky; maybe an otter.
“Near the stream is a very small man made pond with lots of small fish in it.
“As I was by the small pond, I saw a female blackbird in the shallows, I thought initially it must have been having a bath or a drink, but as I stopped to watch it for a moment, I noticed it was behaving very erratically and instead of bathing.
“I saw that it was chasing small fish. Quickly getting my camera out of my bag, I stood absolutely amazed as within 10 seconds, it had managed to successfully catch a fish before flying off into the undergrowth.
“I was speechless. I texted a friend who works with wildlife on a daily basis and he said ‘unbelievable’.
“I had heard of blackbirds eating things like tadpoles, but never before had I heard of them eating fish.
“I was left wondering whether the recent snowy weather had resulted in the temporary loss of some of the blackbirds food supplies, forcing it to adjust to alternative means of finding food?”
David uploaded the incredible snap to his photography page before sharing in a private group the same day.
He wrote: “Today I saw something I have never seen before. I saw a female blackbird fishing and not only fishing but catching.
“I wonder perhaps if the recent snow and ice has forced it to turn to alternative food sources outside its natural diet to survive.”
The image shows the light brown blackbird with a small fish in its mouth held by the neck looking defeated as the camera managed to capture it shaking the fish showing bits of water coming off of the fish that it had recently caught.
Facebook users were amazed by the image and praised David for taking such a good photograph of the rare sight.
Brent Dodd wrote under the post: “Heard of blackbirds eating small fish and tadpoles, even small frogs and toads but not seen evidence of it before. Great photo.”
Al Pyke said: “Cracking pic, never seen that. Just opportunists I guess.”
Ronnie Smith said: “Amazing, never heard of that before.”
Grace Hall commented: “Fabulous, never seen anything like this. Many thanks.”
A spokeswoman for the RSPB said: “Seeing a blackbird fishing is certainly unusual! Blackbirds prefer to eat invertebrates, such as worms and slugs, or fruit and berries when they can’t find any creepy crawlies, but they have been known to go for small fish and tadpoles, or even snakes, shrews, and frogs in hard times.
“It’s very possible that the recent weather has made it harder than ever to find food, so this intrepid female has had to look elsewhere.
“The good news, however, is that everyone can help – simply putting out some fresh food and water can make all the difference to a hungry bird.”