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I’ll huff and I’ll puff

February 14, 2015

Three Little Pigs is a cautionary fairy tale on a number of levels. It comments on the peril of strangers, the benefits of planning for the future and on a most practical level, which building materials make the best houses.



I have been watching a female Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris), pictured below, single-mindedly build a nest on the limb of a Long-leaved Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx). The cup-shaped construction was made of sticks, not straw (as in one Little Pig’s house), but even still it did not look too stable. The process took about a week, after which time both the male and the female birds took turns to sit on the nest (pictured below left).



Rufous Whistlers are one of a number of whistlers known for their musical calls. Both they and the Grey Shrike-Thrush are our early morning alarm clocks in spring and early summer. The geographical range of this whistler covers most of Australia and they are breeding migrants, arriving in south-eastern Australia to breed in early spring before heading to inland or northern Australia in autumn.

Dad on nest

Dad on nest

And flimsy the nest was. All it took was a brief summer storm (not even a wolf’s huffing and puffing) and it was no more. All that was left was pile of twigs on the ground. Next time, I’d copy the wisest pig and build in brick (or at least in mud like the choughs do).

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