BILLY Boyle is an example to us all of a dutiful parent.

Billy - a tame blackbird is a STAR. He has helped to raise four lots of chicks and has even fought off threats to his young.

A Jackdaw dived down on to the nest to steal one of the chicks - Billy fought it off. It came again and he saw it off - it could have killed him.

One of the chicks got out of the nest before it could fly and Billy guarded the chick on the ground and continued to feed it until it could fly.

He did look worn out and thin after his busy summer and is currently feeding to face the winter.

He lands on my fence and I can go right up to him. He cocks his head on one side to tell me he wants feeding!

Why Billy 'Boyle'? My neighbour, John Boyle, whistles one of several hymn tunes as he walks up our lane and Billy mimics one or two of the phrases from them. He generally appears when I whistle of him.

When the ground is rock hard through lack of rain all those animals who eat worms can die of hunger - this includes blackbirds, among others and hedgehogs - so please feed them.

Billy has been around for about four years and, when he moves on, I will really miss him and I'll never forget him.

It's a great joy and privilege to have such a connection with a wild creature.

Vivienne Roscoe

Kirkby Lonsdale