Friday, 23 August 2013

Tawny Frogmouths building their nest

A female Tawny Frogmouth adds material to her nest
Spring is approaching fast in Canberra, where although the nights are still cold, the days are warming and lengthening. And in response, the Tawny Frogmouths are building their nests more industrially. Two weeks ago, only a few pairs had even began to build, now I know several pairs which have well-built nests.

I set up a camera at a nest to record which of the sexes does most of the building, and from the limited sample of only one pair so far, it looks like the female does more. In one night, she spent about six and a half hours at the nest, bringing in twigs, shuffling them into place and sitting on the nest for long periods of time - I don't think there were any eggs yet, but the camera did not look down into the cup. The male spent about two and a half hours doing the same, although he was also on the nest all day before, plus for about an hour post dusk and pre dawn. They don't build large elaborate nests, just a simple platform which is enough to form base to lay their eggs on, so they don't bring in much material. The female brought in twenty-seven twigs and the male thirteen. Last week, only the male attended the nest, and he brought in just one twig, a short time before dawn.

To watch a few minutes of their edited nest building click here

I plan to set the camera up at other nests to record the effort of  a larger sample of birds.

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