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.
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!
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.
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!
You’re amazing – and don’t you forget it!
Sharing with Natalie’s #weekendcoffeeshare and Terri’s Sunday Stills
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.
- Reading, Writing and Life #WOYBS
- A tale of 42 foxes #WordlessWednesday
- The smell of earth after rain #SundayStills
- Is there a difference between ‘celebrating your achievements’ and ‘showing off’?
- Science is child’s play at Questacon
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A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.
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