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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Birds branch out into fake tree
Blackbirds at  Exmoor Zoo
The blackbirds took up residence a month ago
A family of blackbirds has taken up residence at a Devon zoo in an artificial tree.

The pair started to make their home in the tree in the Education Centre at Exmoor Zoo about a month ago.

They have now had four chicks in their nest in the tree, which is made of concrete on a wire frame.

"Talks take place in the centre every half-hour but the parents still happily fly in above visitors' heads with worms," said Stephen Eddy from the zoo.

'Gaping mouths'

"This is the first time the education centre has become home to blackbirds but practically every other zoo building has someone nesting in on or near it.

"It's almost like if you leave your door open too long then they'll get in and nest," he said.

The education centre is an enclosed building but has trellis-effect doors which enable the birds to get in and out easily.

"Small children are being warned not to look up with gaping mouths - one hungry mouth is very much like another," said Mr Eddy.

Blackbirds' usual habitats include forests, scrub, gardens and parks and they forage for insects and worms, as well as feeding on berries and fruit.

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