The Hammer and the Snail
The song thrush is a frequent visitor to our gardens, probing around on the ground in search for anything that it can find, e.g. snails, worms, insects, berries. During the summer the song thrush exhibits a bizarre behaviour, performed by few other bird species: extracting snails from shells using a tool.
When worms, the most favoured food source, are in low supply, particularly in droughts, conspicuous banded snails become the preferred prey. Away from predators and prying eyes the thrush takes the snail to a flat, hard object called an anvil. Examples of anvils include rocks, the top of a wall, paving slabs. Here the clever individual grabs the lip of the snail shell and repeatedly bashes it against the anvil, breaking the shell and revealing the juicy nutritious snails.