Rainbow Beeeaters on a flying visit
This springÃ‚Â has been a little unusual as far as our migratory birds are concerned. A few weeks ago I wrote about the lack of cuckoos here in the Murray Bridge district so far this spring. Another species that we often get a little earlier than this is the Rainbow Beeeater. Sometimes they just pass through on their way south, staying for a few minutes or perhaps a few hours.
Many years ago – probably about 15 years ago – we actually had them nesting nearby. This was a great delight as they would be constantly in or near our garden. In more recent years I have heard and seen a few just up the hill from our place – about a kilometre away. This is secluded bushland and quite suitable soil for their nests.
For my readers who were not aware of their nesting habits, let me enlighten you. The Rainbow Beeeaters make a small tunnel in the earth – say the side of a dirt road or in the bank of a creek, river, road cutting or small gully. This tunnel is about 30cm long, at the end of which they make a small nesting hollow where the eggs are laid.
When I was a child on the family farm in the Murray Mallee I remember always being fascinated by these nests on the edge of the track leading to our home. It always was an exciting time of the year when these beautiful birds arrived from up north and began digging a new nest.
Today I heard a single bird calling. It had gone before I had a chance to get outside and check it out. I hope this is the first of many, and that this year they will stay around long enough to find a suitable spot to nest.