Do Willie Wagtails Delay the Lay?

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Woko
Woko's picture
Do Willie Wagtails Delay the Lay?

About 10 days ago Ms Woko & I observed a couple of Willie Wagtails building a nest near our house. They beavered (or should that be Williewagtailed?) away for about 4 days then abandoned what seemed to be a completed nest. At the time we occasionally sighted or heard a Grey Currawong which stimulated quite a few alarm calls among the resident birdlife. Now, 3 days since a Grey Currawong has been sighted or heard, a Willie Wagtail is sitting on the nest. So I’m wondering if Willie Wagtails have the capacity to delay egg production until conditions are favorable. Has anyone else noticed such an event?

Woko
Woko's picture

I strongly suspect that the young Willie Wagtails have left the eggs because whenever I checked the nest today I found the parent bird standing over the nest as if it was shading it in the 35 degrees heat. 

Woko
Woko's picture

Yesterday three Willie Wagtail youngsters were showing above the nest rim & being fed by an adult.

Interestingly, a couple of days ago I passed fairly close to the nest by there was no reaction from the adults. Usually, adults put on their vigorous protection behaviour when a threat in nearby. Apparently, my passing was threatless.

Reflex
Reflex's picture

Maybe the adults are so used to seeing you by now that they have decided you are not a threat. I have a pair of Grey-shrike Thrushes sitting on their third lot of eggs at the moment and when they had the first brood they used to fly off the nest if someone went out through the door but not now. They sit still and allow you to walk past within a metre of the nest. Having said that they don't take their eyes of me for one second.

Samford Valley Qld.

Woko
Woko's picture

Interesting, Reflex. I think birds (& probably other animals) are great conservers of energy. They don’t spend it if they don’t perceive a threat. Having said that, the young Willie Wagtails at my place flew the nest this morning - at least there were no youngsters in the nest when I checked at breakfast time (for me). I haven’t seen the young ones but I’ve heard them near the nest. When I go close to a tree near the nest the adults raise the alarm & the youngsters go quiet. However, the adults have made no move to warn me off with attacks. 

Subscribe to me on YouTube