Old Mother Blackbird

Words, music, collage and film created by Sophie Bancroft

A mother blackbird and her family came to live in my garden during lockdown. The old mother blackbird worked tirelessly to feed and protect her babies. Her mother’s love inspired me to write this song and make this video.

Watch with subtitles here

You can watch Old Mother Blackbird as part of Virgin Atlantic’s inflight entermainment
– June to December 2024

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Old Mother Blackbird songcards and childrens book
Old Mother Blackbird gold background songcards

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Old Mother Blackbird
by Sophie Bancroft ©2021

In a nest, in a tree, by the wall in our garden
A family of blackbirds did grow.
And each day from the tree there came a loud warning
To all those who passed by below.

The old mother blackbird with ruffled brown feathers
Would sound her alarm call each hour of the day.
And no matter how hungry or tired she was feeling
All she would do was to perch there and say,
“Keep away, keep away from my babies!
My life’s work is here at the top of the tree.
And all I can hope is my babies keep safe till they fly.”

And the mother she nurtured the young baby blackbirds
With worms from our garden wrapped up in her love.
And she built up their strength and belief that one day
They could fly from the nest to a life of their own.
“Fly away” she would call to her babies
As they spread their wings at the top of the tree.
And all she could hope was that they would be happy and strong.

And Old Mother Blackbird she stayed in the tree
By the nest that lay empty and quiet and cold.
And surrounded by echoes of babies she’d nurtured
She slept for a while dreaming they had come home.

Now I sit in my garden watching Old Mother Blackbird
Collecting a worm to eat on her own.
And I still hear her call from the tree with the nest
And it sounds like the cry I hold deep in my breast,
“I am far, I am far from my babies.
My life’s work is done at the top of the tree.”
And all she could hope was her babies are happy in life.

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