Red Wattlebirds nesting
I was quietly having my breakfast this morning when a Red Wattlebird flew into the bush near our sun room. It proceeded to pull off a small twig from a Melaleuca bush. It then flew off rapidly to a Eucalyptus tree next to the driveway. Less than a minute later it was back again, swinging on a small twig until it was dislodged, then off to the tree again. It repeated the action every minute or so.
After finishing my breakfast – and ignoring the newspaper – I wandered out to the driveway to have a look. Sure enough, a half constructed nest was located high in the thick foliage. I actually had to follow the bird’s flight to locate the nest. It’s well hidden from prying eyes. While I watched the another Red Wattlebird flew in from a different part of the garden and added to the nest.
I’ll have to keep an eye on this nest over the coming few weeks to watch for evidence of chicks.
It is spring here in South Australia and many birds are busy nesting of feeding young.
Just wondering about birds that don’t make a call. I’m writing a stoy and have magpies in it, with their beautiful carrolling. But I need a bird that contrasts in that it is silent. Found in gardens in Victoria.
Any suggestions? I would really appreciate your help.
Thanks in anticipation.
That’s a tough question. All birds call in some way, usually as a way of defending their territory, or as a way of keeping contact with others of the same species. I will work through my field guide and make a few possible suggestions – mainly the quieter ones:
1. Crested Pigeon – very soft cooing – but not common in Melbourne
2. Eastern Rosella – soft tinkling call (can be noisy if alarmed)
3. Some of the cuckoos – can be quiet and sneaky when laying their eggs in others’ nests – but can also have a far reaching call at other times
4. Owls – call only at night (might be a nice twist in the story??)
5. Swallows – soft seep-seep-seep calls
6. Pardalotes – can be silent when feeding in trees – and noisy at other times
7. Scarlet Robin – quietly waits on branches for insects to fly past – sometimes a soft call. Not likely in inner Melbourne and only where there is open forest nearby. (Also Rose and Pink Robins)
8. Red-browed Finch – frequent gardens in many places – call is soft.
9. Silvereye – soft but far reaching ‘psee’ contact call – often quiet when feeding.
It’s not easy – as I said – all birds call at some stage.
Hope this has helped.
CURRENTLY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA DUE TO THE HEAT WAVE THE FOOD SUPPLY FOR HONEY EATERS AS WELL THE NUMBER OF BIRD POPULATIONS ARE RAPIDLY DECREASING IN OUR BACKYARD. WHAT CAN WE DO TO ASSIST IN THESE TIMES OF LONG LASTING EXTREME WEATHER? what is the food supply I could put out onto the bushes for these tiny winged creations? CHEERS LISA SIMONE
Thanks for your comments and question Lisa.
Honeyeater populations change frequently due to many factors and generally heat wave conditions are only temporary, lasting from a few days to about a week and do not change the food supply significantly.
What you are observing in the decline of honeyeaters is quite complex in its cause and relatively common. Most Australian native plants do not flower throughout the year and some only flower for a few weeks. Other plants, like some of our eucalyptus species may only flower every second or third year, depending on many factors, including rainfall. In any patch of scrub or forest there will be some flowering plants and many that are not flowering.
When there are plenty of flowers in a given area – and therefore much food for honeyeaters – numbers can increase rapidly with birds migrating from nearby areas where there is less food. Many honeyeater species migrate readily, some of them hundreds of kilometres. It is the supply of food that determines the numbers, not heat waves.
An added factor is the supply of insects. Many honeyeaters are also insectivorous and the numbers of insects available will also determine how many birds are present. Generally it is my observation that insect numbers increase during hot weather which favours the birds.
What can you do?
1. For the long term survival of all bird species plant a wide range of Australian native plants in your garden and encourage neighbours to do the same. This will not only ensure a long term food supply for birds, it will encourage biodiversity and bring in small mammals (eg possums), butterflies and other creatures.
2. In the short term, artificial feeding is discouraged for reasons too complex to go into here.
3. In the broader picture, discourage people from allowing cats into gardens. They are predators on small birds and a major contributor to the decline of birds in our gardens.
4. The best way to keep many birds in your garden is to supply fresh water in various shady spots but well out of reach from predators like cats. Bird baths are quickly found by birds in hot conditions and will ensure they stay around. Watching them drink and bathe also gives us as bird lovers much pleasure as we watch them.
Hope this has all helped.
Because you asked the same question on 3 different posts I am copying these answers on all 3 for other readers of this site.
THANX 4UR REPLY, ITS GOOD TO KNOW THAT I HAVENT LOST MY TINY FEATHERED FRIENDS ITS PROBABLY MIGRATION FOR BETTER CONDITIONS, ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THEIR RETURN, CHEERS LISA
hey trevor there is a baby red wattle bird that looks to young to of fledged yet on the ground behind my garbage bins. the parents are still dotting on it but im not sure if they are feeding or just agonising at the bird fallen out of the nest. you made comment that there nests are well camouflaged and hard to detect. ive looked and looked and can’t see anything in the lemon gum above where the baby sits. its to small and young to of got there from any other surrounding trees. i was half thinking they where ground nesting birds though there is no nest to speak of and i just know birds enough to know that wattle birds dont nest on the ground. im also imagining it best to just leave nature to run its own course even if i find the nest. the baby looks protected and comfy enough though i dont think the parents sit on the baby at night. whats your take? cheers steve
My inclination is the let nature take its course. The parents are usually very persistent in continuing to feed the young, even when they fall out of the nest, or are blown out by wind. The young can also be very resilient. Let’s hope the feathers grow quickly and the young one can fly off out of danger.
Yes – all honeyeaters are bush or tree nesting.
I would like to know how lold wattle bird chicks are before they fly away from the nest they were born in?
We have been watching a nest only 6′ from the griund in a Chinese Elm which is quite exposed. We Saw two chicks, but one died in the nest. The other was doing really well and was quite feathery, but today the nest is empty and the nest is tilted downwards. I fear an attack from ?? But HOPE the chick has flown and they have moved on.
I hope someone can help me with this information as no sites I have found give me anything.
Sorry about the delay in replying. Wattlebird chicks, like so many of our honeyeater species, fledge (leave the nest and fly) between 2 and 3 weeks from hatching. I am sorry I can’t be more specific than that – I am travelling at present and all my reference books are at home, some 1400km from here.
Red Wattlebird eggs usually hatch after 17 – 21 days of brooding, and the chicks fledge after 14 – 21 days from hatching.
Hi trevor am looking out for two chicks de-homed whenn a neighbour’s tree was lopped. I am bringing the chicks in at night in a shoebox nest because the parents do not seem inclined to nest at night with the chicks. Is this correct?
I am not really sure why the parents are not continuing to sit on them at night to keep them warm. Perhaps the shoe box is putting them off. From your comments, I assume that the parents are still feeding them during the day. If so, that is a good sign and they could survive until being able to fly off (fledge). If you are putting the shoe box outside during the day, make sure it is well out of reach of any cats. I hope your caring vigilance pays off and they survive. If the parents end up not feeding them, or the chicks die, be assured that the parents are likely to breed again because it is still very early in their breeding season.