Thursday, 26 September 2013

Buff-rumped Thornbill nest

A well hidden thornbill nest
The woods are busy with the sound of nesting birds at the moment. Some building, carrying material, some scolding in alarm as we pass by and others make almost constant contact calls between one another as they gather food for chicks. Chicks which lie still in hidden nests, but can blow their cover by emitting urgent begging calls as they see or hear their parents approach with food.

This nest is of a pair of Buff-rumped Thornbills  Acanthiza reguloides. It is a neatly crafted ball of bark strips and grasses locked together with spider webs and egg cases, then lined with what looked like a mix of small feathers, kangaroo hair and plant down. Set in a crack behind some flaking bark on an old Yellow Box tree it was invisible from most angles, except from that from where the side entrance could be discerned as a tell-tale round hole in an otherwise linear pattern of bark. 

I heard the adult birds first, calling to one another, then they gave alarm as I approached their nest tree. I could see they were carrying food; a large moth in the first case, the other something very small, so I walked back a few paces and watched the birds sneak into their nest to feed their chicks (3). They quickly set off for another foraging trip, and I knew I had about two minutes before they returned. So I unzipped the camera as I approached the tree, found the nest straight away, took a few shots, and walked away before the birds returned. Minimal disturbance, means minimal risk of predation by ravens or currawongs.

Small birds only need small niches to nest in - some very small

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