A moral dilemma – with a bird’s nest

New Holland Honeyeater nest in boxthorn bush

New Holland Honeyeater nest in boxthorn bush

Today I was faced with a moral dilemma.

I was trimming some bushes and branches with my chainsaw. This included a rather overgrown Boxthorn bush where it should not have been. I ripped into it with the saw, being careful not to get ripped into by the nasty spikes that cover boxthorn bushes. I managed to come away with only one scratch on my arm.

I had almost finished and straightened up to survey my work. A New Holland Honeyeater was going ballistic in the tree above me. Oh no, I thought. My worst fears were suddenly realised. I had partially removed a part of the boxthorn which contained a beautiful nest, complete with two eggs.

Here was my moral dilemma. The local council authorities insist I destroy all boxthorns on my property. My wife wanted the bush removed, and I wanted the nasty thing gone too. On the other hand, the wildlife authorities say that it is illegal to remove or destroy a bird nest.

In a piece of quick thinking I cut off the portion containing the nest. I then removed all of the offending bush. I placed the portion of the boxthorn containing the nest in the fork of the tree less than a metre from the original site of the nest (see photo above).

And I stood back to see to see what would happen. Within a minute the honeyeater was back on the nest. A great sigh of relief. I gave the nest a wide berth all afternoon until carefully taking the photos on this page. The shot below shows the bird still sitting on the eggs, watching me rather warily. (Click on the photo to enlarge the image – this will show the bird more clearly.)

The downside is that a little part of the garden will have to wait for the promised clean up for a few weeks. That’s not a problem – there’s plenty more to do elsewhere.

New Holland Honeyeater nest in boxthorn bush

New Holland Honeyeater nest in boxthorn bush


4 Responses to “A moral dilemma – with a bird’s nest”

  1. mick says:

    Very quick thinking indeed and an excellent outcome!

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks Mick. I look forward to watching progress on the nest and its contents. I can watch safely from the back door some 10 metres away. This will not disturb the sitting bird. The experience has shown me how strong the nesting instinct is and how determined some birds can be.

  3. Polprav says:

    Hello from Russia

  4. Trevor says:

    Welcome to my birding blog Polprav. I hope that you enjoy looking around and seeing the beautiful birds of Australia.

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