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Sunday, 24 April 2011

An unfortunate event---nesting Red Whiskered Bulbuls

The female Red Whiskered Bulbul had spent the past 2 weeks incubating her eggs.

Then one day I saw the male bird came back with a small insect in his mouth.  I realized that the little chicks must have been hatched. 

Because the female still spent most of her time in the nest, everytime the male came back with food, he would stop and call first.

The female would then come out of the nest and let the male feed the chicks. 

The female herself would sometimes try to find food in the garden while the male was in the nest, but she never left the nest for more than a few minutes.

I decided to leave them alone until the chicks grew older to take more photos.

But then tragedy struck.  After a thunderstorm, I noticed that the nest looked different and empty. 

Then I found a cat and a dead chick on the ground. But the parents did not realize what had happened to the chicks. They looked very puzzled when they brought food back and couldn’t find the chicks. 

They continued to bring back food for two more days before giving up.

  These two birds seem to be a pair of inexperienced parents. I guess the nest wasn’t built very sturdily and it collapsed during the thunderstorm which led to the chicks falling off the tree. The cat, on the other hand, might have got a free meal. In fact, these two birds already lost all of their chicks two years ago (documented in a previous blog).

    Talking about tough birds, this pair didn’t waste anytime feeling sorry for themselves. Instead, they started building a new nest in the same tree as soon as they realized that the chicks were not coming back. Hopefully, they have learned from their mistakes and will build a strong nest this time round.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Dancing Queen--Little Egret

Unlike the Night Herons, the Little Egrets are not patient fishermen. On the contrary, they are the liveliest of hunters which are often seen stalking their prey by running with wings raised to disturb small fish in the water. When I saw a group of Little Egret fishing the other day, I was fascinated by their artistic “dancing” moves. 

Even when they are in flight, they never fail to amuse me with their elegant plumage and graceful postures.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Nesting Red-whiskered Bulbuls---nest building

My neighbours----a pair of Red-whiskered Bulbuls, are nesting again. In contrast to the swallows, which use the same nest every year, the Red-whiskered Bulbuls build new nests every year in a different location. This year is no exception.

Luckily for me, this year the nest is located near my window. It gave me a great pleasure to witness the team work of the birds.

When I realized what was going on, the nest was almost completed. 

What seemed to be a perfect nest to me apparently was not good enough for the birds. It took them another two days to perfect the job, which gave me the chance to observe them.

The female was the dominant one in nest constructing. 

She came in and out bringing back roots
(one of their favourite nesting building materials)
of different shapes and length.

I guess because it is the female who will spend two weeks incubating the eggs, she has to make sure that the nest is comfortable. 

Everything she put in the nest had to be comfort tested several times to ensure that the nest was cozy in every angle, 

before leaving for another trip.

The male, on the other hand, was by no means a lazy partner.  His job was a “bodyguard”. He not only accompanied the female on each trip back and forth from the nest but was also a “look-out”.

While the female was working inside the nest, the male either sat on a high-point watching (the nest is at the bottom right of the picture),

or just stood by the nest, 

usually singing loudly( the female is inside the nest---see the orange colour on the right hand side of the male). 

It sounded like he was reassuring the female that everything was fine and she can concentrate on her work.

Since the completion, the female has been spending most of her time in the nest, with occasional breaks. 

The male meanwhile is not far away, sometimes I can hear him singing in the garden. Hopefully, we shall see some chicks in about two weeks time.