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Third time lucky

December 2, 2016

e-spinebill-juvenileBack in September we ran a post about a pair of Eastern Spinebills nesting in a bushy bay tree close to our house. That event ended badly when we discovered the two still unfeathered chicks gone and the nest abandoned. The parents were not having much luck as that was the second nest in the same tree. We suspected the culprit in both failed attempts was a Grey Currawong which had been hanging around the garden.

Being persistent, but perhaps not very smart, the pair of spinebills soon started building a third nest in the opposite side of the same tree. To our surprise their persistence paid off and two fledglings eventually left the nest. A couple of days later one was spotted in a melaleuca, lacking the coloration of its parents and trying to pretend it was invisible – see photo above.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jacinda permalink
    October 23, 2017 12:50 pm

    A pair of Eastern Spinebills nested in the bough of a pine tree near our kitchen. That first nest got blown out the tree before completion. They nested a second time and there were chicks in the nest (at least they appeared to be feeding them but the nest was so well-hidden you could only see it from a couple of angles and you certainly couldn’t see into it).
    Today, to my horror, the nest has disappeared entirely and I cannot find it anywhere. I’ve seen the parents around feeding but so far no sign of any young ones. I just can’t understand what could have happened. There were no strong winds. I haven’t noticed any predatory birds around – and for the whole nest to disappear without a trace, not even remnants of it strewn around.

  2. Jacinda permalink
    October 23, 2017 3:44 pm

    Update: Just found the nest about 15/20 feet from the bough. It was a lot smaller than I thought from below and lined with feathers. A number of other downy feathers on the ground. I wonder what would rip the nest out the tree? I don’t think a feral cat could get to it. A magpie? Kookaburra?

    • macwake permalink*
      October 23, 2017 4:16 pm

      Glad you found the nest, Jacinda, but not a good outcome for the spinebills by the sound of it. They’ll probably try again and hopefully be successful this time. Maybe the predator was a currawong or butcherbird?

  3. Jacinda permalink
    October 23, 2017 4:26 pm

    Thanks for your reply. We don’t get butcherbirds here (SA) but currawongs, yes – haven’t seen one lately but hear them occasionally. It’s just so sad, but nature’s way I suppose. I hope they do try again and have better luck.

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