Tuesday, 19 December 2017

A long sit

This pair of Tawny Frogmouths have had a bad season. Back on 6th October (seen above) they were together in their nest tree. Unusually, the female was sitting on the nest in the daytime, so I assume that was because she was laying an egg and had not finished before sunrise, so she stayed on the nest during the day. That is usually the male's task.

Sadly, they then took turns, the male sitting on the nest by day, and both for spells at night, for the next nine weeks. They must have had an infertile egg, or possibly two of them, but that would seem unlikely, and very bad luck. They only stopped trying to incubate and hatch it last week, and it is probably now too late for them to try again. When I suspected that they had a dud egg, weeks ago now, when they should have had chicks, I was tempted to climb up and take the egg away from them so that they could go ahead and re-lay. But, I don't interfere with nature, so I left them to be, sad as it is to witness.

The immediate neighbouring pair also had a dud egg, but they did have a viable one too, and they successfully hatched and fledged a chick (a few weeks ago, see above when it had just left the nest). I saw them again last week, with the chick now well developed and almost full grown since fledging on the 7th November.

The remains of their dud egg, the split shell, was lying below their nest on the day the chick fledged. It had already been eaten by an opportunist predator.

Meanwhile, the next pair along successfully raised two chicks. It is only by studying birds closely that we learn what happens to them when breeding. So many different things can go wrong in life.

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