The Empty Nest

A new family moved in

We had a new little family move in recently.

They found a great spot in the grapevine on the back verandah, just outside our back door, built a solid little home and promptly laid 3 little eggs on 19/12/2021.

eggs in the nest
eggs in the nest

The Willie Wagtail’s nest is a neatly woven cup of grasses, covered with spider’s web on the outside and lined internally with soft grasses, hair or fur. The soft lining of the nest, if not readily available, is often taken directly from an animal. The nest of the Willie Wagtail may be re-used in successive years, or an old nest is often destroyed and the materials used in the construction of a new nest. Nests are normally placed on a horizontal branch of a tree, or other similar structure. The cream-coloured eggs, speckled with grey and brown are incubated by both sexes. The young birds stay with the parents until the eggs from the next clutch start to hatch. At this point they are driven away. If conditions are favourable, the couple may raise up to four successive clutches in a single season. Source

The parents sat on the eggs for approximately 14 days and warned us off if we got too close. The Willy Wagtails were adding to their family.

We kept watch – from afar!

Two eggs hatched on 2/1/2022 and the parents were all a flutter, buzzing around finding food, feeding their tiny babies and telling us in no uncertain terms to buzz off!

fledglings in the nest
fledglings in the nest

The willie wagtail is highly territorial and can be quite fearless in defence of its territory; it will harass not only small birds but also much larger species such as the Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen), raven (Corvus coronoides), laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), and wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax). 

When harassing an opponent, the willie wagtail avoids the head and aims for the rear. Both the male and female may engage in this behaviour, and generally more intensely in the breeding season. A pair of birds will declare and defend their territory against other pairs in a diving display. One bird remains still while the other loops and dives repeatedly before the roles are reversed; both sing all the while. Source

Nestlings remain in the nest for around 14 days before fledging. Upon leaving, the fledglings will remain hidden in cover nearby for one or two days before venturing further afield, up to 20 m (66 ft) away by the third day. Parents will stop feeding their fledglings near the end of the second week, as the young birds increasingly forage for themselves, and soon afterwards drive them out of the territory. Source

The Mathematician kept this photo record of their progress which I’m sharing with you. It’s been pretty amazing following their progress! Our grandchildren have been agog with each new photo we’ve sent them.

The nest is now empty

As per the information we’d found, the little ones stayed in the nest for about 14 days and both had left left by 16/1/2022, so basically a month from the start.

Today, the nest is empty, the little ones have flown the coop and are being trained in life skills by their parents in a tree not too far away in the backyard. We can hear them but they’re not as worried by us as they were. Despite their small size the willy wagtail parents are ferocious in protecting their offspring and manage to chase off other birds if they get too close.

I know that empty nest feeling all too well! Although it’s been years since my three girls left the nest, and all have their own babies now, I’m still their mother.

empty nest
empty nest

Changes to Wordless Wednesday

I have been doing Wordless Wednesday posts (or attempting to do them) for quite some time now and at one stage even changed the name to Worth a Word Wednesday, on the suggestion from Suz, my NZ blogging friend.

But for this year I’ve decided to change it up a bit, post only when I have something to say on a Wednesday and use the Wake up and be Amazing, it’s Wednesday as inspiration.

You see I like words too much, and yes I know a photo can tell a story but sometimes I want to add words, lots of words, so it moves away from being Wordless Wednesday. I’ll still use the hashtag and tags in my posts just so I keep track of all the posts I write in that category but I’ll try to feature more amazing news!

Wakeup Wednesday 2022
Wakeup Wednesday 2022

You’re amazing – and don’t you forget it!

Deb 🙂

All my Wordless Wednesday posts can be found by clicking this link

Sharing with Natalie’s #weekendcoffeeshare and Terri’s Sunday Stills

Coming up

The first What’s on Your Bookshelf Challenge for 2022 is live on Friday 21 January at 9am (AEDT) and Thursday pm in the Northern Hemisphere. This will be in the form of a linkup to ensure we don’t miss any posts. Feel free to join us and tell us what you’ve been reading.

What's on your bookshelf co-host badge
What’s on your bookshelf co-host

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You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Contact Deb here

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

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27 Replies to “The Empty Nest”

  1. They’re very cute and it would have been lovely watching it all progress. I’m glad you’re going with the flow with your posts and focusing on what feels authentic to you – rather than having to fit around a particular idea. Using things for inspiration and then “making it your own” (to quote all those musical shows) is perfect. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How lovely to see the stages of them raising their family and then watching them literally ‘leave the nest’. I bet the grandchildren were engrossed by the unfolding story!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Deb. This was such an interesting post! The wagtails are quite the characters! I think their behaviors and characteristics, would make a lovely childrens book. We never stop being moms, do we? While your enjoying spring/ summer, we are snowed in, in Chiatura, Georgia. The man that came to repair our floor, had to walk up our snowy hill. Thank you for sharing this lovely post. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this insight into Mother Nature doing her thing. I’m trying to learn more about Australian wildlife now Australia is home! Your post has helped me learn more about Willy Wagtails! Thank you for sharing this magical event from your back veranda.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How amazing to watch all of this unfold. They’re so territorial for such small birds but pretty remarkable too. Nature’s amazing. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos Deb. Made me think of my own life and my kids too! Big hugs. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Debbie, I enjoyed learning about the willy wagtails and seeing your husband’s beautiful photos of the bird family. It’s a great teaching opportunity to share them with your grandchildren. I also like that you blog the way it works for you, as opposed to trying to fit in with something like Wordless Wednesday. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Natalie, I’m so pleased you enjoyed learning about the willy wagtails, and the grandchildren loved the almost daily photo updates! I’m also glad I have taken the step to do things on my blog that suit me and not what everyone may expect! Thanks 🙂


  7. Hi Deb. This was great! You sent me to image search to see what the adult bird looks like and left me wondering – how exactly does the nest-building parent convince the spiders to weave up the new nest – which itself is a great idea. Spider webbing is amazing stuff. Perhaps the parents tear spider webs apart strand by strand. That makes them even more amazing.
    An excellent post Deb. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love wagtails, so tiny but so feisty. We’ve had them make their nest twice under the old rotary washline that we use as a veggie bed cover. The last ones (3 of them) just flew off in October last week. The previous time the parents used to attack the cats if they came near them, so they all had sores on their head 🙂
    I had no idea they would still be nesting in December, I thought it would only be during Spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Sami, they really are feisty little birds and so protective. We’re expecting another lot any day now. Apparently they like summer weather and we live in quite a temperate climate here in Tumbarumba. Thanks for your lovely comment.


    1. Thanks Suzanne, it’s been bothering for a while so I’m glad I went with what I was thinking. The willy wagtail family are amazing and I thought they deserved to be featured with words as well as photos 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad you shared this for Sunday Stills, Debbie, as I missed it! What great shots of the nest, parents, and chicks! I know the feeling of the empty nest (but don’t tell anyone how much I love it). I’m glad to read that the chicks fledged successfully and are being well taken care of by the parents. Nature at its best. Great idea for sharing this post today! Also, I’m with you on what I call Wordy Wednesdays! As an educator I need words to go with my photos! So this is a good motivator for a mid-week post! I want to hop in to your “What’s On your Bookshelf soon, too! Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Terri, it just seemed to fit the bird theme and I wanted to share their story. I really like words too much to go wordless I’ve decided, maybe it’s our educator background??

      Liked by 1 person

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