Cold weather came suddenly this year and with the change in temperatures there was the usual outbreak of colds and flu. I have had a prolonged attack of flu and haven't even felt like walking around my yard to watch the birds that I could hear. Blog posts were something I didn't want to even think about :-(
Technically, May is counted as the last month of Autumn - but Autumn in the sub-tropics is certainly not the same as Autumn in other parts of the country or the world! Do away with any idea that birds nest in the spring-time. They are nesting right now!
My friend Helen phoned me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that there was a very tiny nest in a shrub right outside the window of her house. I was too sick to even want to go and look at that stage but when she phoned again the other day and told me that the parent birds - Brown Honeyeaters - were now feeding young ones I decided that it was time that I made the effort and started to get out of the house again. This morning I went and sat on her veranda and waited. The nest was in the shade and Helen said even later in the day it was still shaded.
Brown Honeyeaters are always noisy birds and they have a range of calls. I listened and sat still while they scolded and made warning cries from close by. Then they came a little closer and made their more melodious calls and finally came closer still and made their little contact calls. Patience paid off and they eventually came in to the nest and clung to the branch and fed the babies. The branch the nest is attached to is very small and the adult birds set it swinging wildly as they clung to it. Brown Honeyeaters are small - only 11-15cms long.
My bird book says that the Brown Honeyeater's nest is a deep cup of bark strips, grasses, plant down, wool, spiderwebs and cocoons. When I looked closely at the photos I had taken I could see the spiderwebs they had used at the top of the nest to help to attach it to the branch.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Photo of the nest cropped to show the spiderwebs at the top.
For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.