Pale Headed Rosella Nesting

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Brian Desjardins's picture
Pale Headed Rosella Nesting

1.  We currently have a "Pale Headed Rosella" nesting in a box I built on our back deck.  Over many years I have noticed this pair of rosellas looking for nesting areas near our house, looking in a hole in our flagpole and other areas around the house.

Gradually I have coaxed this pair of rosellas in to our yard with a 'bit' of food every now and then and gradually moved the feed and water trays closer to the house, eventually hanging the feeder from the eaves of the house.  I then built a small box in a corner of the deck ceiling and then saw them looking in it over several months and now the female is I guess sitting on eggs in it, as she spends a lot of time in there and you can hear her making noises in there.  This noise sounds like rolling something around  on the floor of the box, but it could also be picking at the wooden surrounds. 

The male comes several times a day and gets her to come out and they go for a little fly for a while and then she returns.  We get great enjoyment watching them, as we can see them from our family room window.  Why would you want to cage a bird when you can watch them doing their thing in the wild.

Their nesting does cause us some inconvenience because we don't go out to our back deck while she is in the box in case we frighten her, but it is worth it and if they hatch young I will feel like a proud defacto grandfather.  We only feed them very little and not daily and often go away caravanning and they of course don't get anything.

Does anyone know how long they sit on their eggs and how long before the young can fly .  I would also like to know what she is doing in the box that makes the noise, but I guess that can be her secret.                                                                                                                        2. We recently had a week camped at Inskip Point, near Rainbow Beach, Qld and again saw some red backed fairy-wrens, I think they are beautiful.  I notice there is no mention of them in the Birds in backyards database, but found it in my "What Bird is that" book.

Brian DJ

Elsie
Elsie's picture

Thats so exciting!! I believe that they incubate their eggs for 19-21 days but i'm not positivefrown Do you know how long she has been sitting for now? I do know that they fledge after 35 dayssmiley I have been watching the ones around our house and they are looking for a nest! I am very excitedlaugh

I hope that all goes well for them and you!

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Thanks for your replies. 

 I know we should not feed the birds, but I only feed them a little and then only at irregular times and we are away a lot also, so the amount they get from us is minimal, but it is enough to have them call in when ever they fly past just to have a look and that brightens up our day watching them just outside the back window.  

This pair have been visiting us for several years, so they sort of trust us and while they are still very timid and flighty they always return to check the feeder tray.  I chose the feeder position as it was sheltered from the weather and safe from predators, I hope. 

We don't have cats or dogs but there is park lands behind out back fence and some large snakes, but hopefully they are still out of reach although there is a down pipe etc nearby and some large carpet snakes can be inventive.   

 I guess the female has been spending quite a lot of time in the nest for about a couple of weeks now, so if everything goes to plan we should hear or see something in a week or two.

After some additional searching of this site I did find quite a lot more information in the nest box area.

Brian DJ

Elsie
Elsie's picture

Thats finesmiley I'd be really interested to hear more about your bird family as things progress. It is so interesing and excitingcheeky

Yesterday I found out where one of our pairs of Pale-headeds are nesting and I can't wait to see how things go for them!

Elsie

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

I have become a VERY proud and excited grandparent again.   We have been watching the male coming and collecting the female from the nest box several times a day.  He takes her away, I guess to feed her, and she returns a short time (about10 minutes) later.  It is a few weeks since she stated taking up residence in the nest box and we have been away a lot of that time, so while she is away with the male I go out and listed under the box and today I heard some cheeping.  While she was away I stood on a chair and used a mirror to look in the box  and to my great pleasure saw a very small baby rosella in the box.  Now I cant wait to watch the baby emerge from the box and fly away to add to the local population and hopefully revisit us on a regular basis with the parents.   Brian DJ 

Elsie
Elsie's picture

Oh! how exciting! I hope that everything goes well for it and it's parentssmiley

Elsie

Holly
Holly's picture

That is lovely Brian - I love their little nest box! 

 

Have attached the link to the fact sheet for them. Incubation is about 19 days and the young leave the nest after 35 days.

Annie W
Annie W's picture

That is wonderful Brian!  What a brilliant nest box!  Look forward for updates down the track too! yes

NW Tasmania

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Just an update to my Rosie story.   After Mosie (Mum) and Dosie (Dad) left the nest earlyer today, I was able to climb up on a stool and take a photo through the hole with the aid of a small torch light and here is the result.  5 new rosies.  Can't wait until they feather up and begin to learn to fly.  Our life revolves around the birds at the moment and we haven't been able to use the back deck for a month or so waiting to see what would happen, but now the eggs have hatched we can relax a bit and maybe even use the BBQ again, if only for a short time..

timmo
timmo's picture

That's so fantastic Brian! So many little cuties!

Thanks for sharing!

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Elsie
Elsie's picture

Ohhh! How sweet!!!

Is that a sixth egg in the front or just a shell? Or is it nothing at allcheeky

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

I initially thought it was just a shell, but on looking closer it could be an unhatched egg.  Brian DJ

Annie W
Annie W's picture

Absolutely wonderful!!  I bet you almost feel like proud grandparents, well I guess I wouldlaugh  Thanks so much,  - look forward to more I more updates as they grow Brian.

NW Tasmania

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

We were just sitting on the back deck having lunch near the Rosie nest ( underneath and about 4 metres away) and both Mum (Mosie and Dad (Dosie) arrived back to feed the young. 

They sat on the pool fence for a while and looked at us and after a couple of minutes Dosie flew up to the nest and went inside and fed the young and then came back out and flew away, obviously to gather more food.

Then Mosie flew up to the nest hole, turned around and watched us for about 10 seconds and then went inside and fed the young and after a few minutes she too left to gather more food. 

It is so satisfying to know that they trust us and go inside out of our view, knowing that we are still there.

I have already made plans to increase the size of the nest box for next year and add a piece of dowel for the parents to sit on when they are all in the nest, as there can't be any spare room with them all in the nest at the same time, particularly as the youngsters get towards full size.

Happy Brian DJ

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

We have been away for about a week and when we arrived home yesterday I was keen to check on the Rosies. 

After I saw the parents leave the nest yesterday afternoon I climbed up and took a photo and could only see 3 baby rosies and they are now coloured quite well. 

Last night we heard some loud noises coming from out near where the nest box is and this morning after the parents went I got up and took another photo and now can only see two rosies and it looks like two dead ones on the floor, but perhaps I am imagining that and there are others I can't see, as it is hard to get a photo of all parts of the nest. 

The weather is very dry here at the moment and I suspect food would be scarce, so can anyone tell if the parents sometimes kill some of the babies so they can have enough feed for a smaller number to survive? 

Brian DJ

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

A cat could not get near the nest box, my only concern is a large carpet snake that has been around here for years and while I thought it would be high enough and poor climbing surfaces he/she is long and it is possibly amazing where he/she might be able to get.  When my wife heard the noise last night she turned the lights on and looked out where the nest is, but she could not see anything near the nest.   Brian DJ

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

If it was a snake, and you investigated straight after the noise was heard, wouldn't the snake be still around? I am only guessing. What about an owl? Although its hard to see how the other birds died unless of fright. A cat would be on the top of my list of suspects, perhaps because I am so fond of cats.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Good news.  I bought a little mirror and with some jiggling and a torch I think we still have 5 LIVE rosies!!!   Sorry for the mistake, but the photos I got did give the impression that two were lying on the floor and most likely dead, particularly after the commotion last night.  It did upset us and cause me to reply to the thread.    Brian DJ

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Great news. No doubt you'll be wary of any noises during nights to come.

Woko
Woko's picture

Your fondness for cats is most touching, Night Parrot.

pacman
pacman's picture

thanks for the good news update Brian

Peter

Elsie
Elsie's picture

Thats great!

So glad that they are all still livingsmiley

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

The baby rosies must be getting close to leaving the nest.  From what we can se the parents are trying to coax them out of the nest now with food, rather than just go in and feed them.   Here is a photo from this mornings feeding visit.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Breakfast Time

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Some fluttering noises around daybreak this morning, so I jumped out of bed to look for the reason for the noise, but found nothing.

Then at about 7am Mosie and Dosie returned to nest and coaxed two baby rosies out of the nest and they flew off in to the distance.

I then had a look in the nest with the aid of a mirror and torch and there is still one rosie in there, so hopefully they will return soon and take the remaining baby.

Brian DJ

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

One remaining rosie still in the nest.  The parents do come on irregular intervals, but they are not having any luck with getting the remaining rosie out, or even to show himself at the entrance like the others constantly did towards the end.  He/she just seems to lie on the floor with his head in the corner from what I have seen with my mirror.

While the parents are still coming to check and hopefully feed, they don't stay long and sometimes just call him and then leave.

I am happy to have had four successful new rosies fly out in to the wilderness to continue the species, but I am very saddened by the one remaining and probably not surviving.

I have rung two local wildlife groups, but their response is if he isn't strong enough mentally or physically to leave then there is nothing I can do to assist further.

One thing one local bird rescue person said which surprised me was that the first egg laid produces the strongest bird and as the numbers increase the hatchlings become progressively weaker.  I assume she knew what she was talking about.

While I don't want a bird in captivity I am tempted to try and raise it myself temporarily if the parents stop returning, but the advice I have received is just let nature take its course.

A happy but also sad day here.

Brian DJ

Woko
Woko's picture

I agree with that advice. The pale-headed rosella breeding process ensures the strongest genes are carried into the next generation & promotes, as far as possible, a healthy population.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

More good news!

The parents have been back several times yesterday and this morning early to try and coax the remaining rosie out of the nest and for the first time the baby has been coming to the entry hole to meet them.

At 7.30 this morning both parents returned and called and went up to the nest until the last baby flew out.  He was not a great flier and ended up in the garden and after a while tried to fly away with the parents, but could not gain height quickly enough and crashed in to the top of the pool fence and hung there fluttering for some time.

Then a butcher bird came and looked like he was going to attack, so I rushed out and he retreated and the baby rosella fell to the ground.  I went out and sat near it to make sure the butcher bird did not return and the rosella parents came and sat on the fence near the baby and where I was sitting on the ground acting as grandparent.

I then gave the baby a bit of encouragement to fly again and he then flew away and this time got over the fence and landed in a tree with the parents about 50 metres away and I hope eventually got to reunite with the other 4 siblings.

The fifth rosie did not appear quite as strong as the others, but hopefully he will survive as he has great parents who never gave up on him.

About 10 minutes ago the two parent rosies came back and landed on our fence and then flew on to a chair on our deck as if to say thank you and then flew away again.

This has been a great outcome for all of us, expecially me and I am going to crack a nice red this afternoon to celebrate our newly increased family.

Brian DJ

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Well done Brian. Two nice reds would be even better.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Since the baby rosies have left we have not seen them again.  The parents return a couple of times a day to look to see if there is any food/water, but no babiesl 

Does anyone know of a good web site that describes the breeding, hatching, raising juveniles habits of a rosella are?  I have goggled and found some information, but I am never satisfied and always want more information!

Brian DJ

sundew13
sundew13's picture

I have enjoyed reading about your experiences with the Rosella family.  We too have a nestbox on the back deck which has had pale-headed rosellas nesting in it for the past few years.  Unfortunately they have only ever raised one young successfully, 2 years ago whilst last year no eggs hatched.  This year the female laid late and had one egg hatch 2 weeks ago, however we also have a very territorial kookaburra who continually bashes into their box and sadly he managed to get his head in and take the baby a few days ago.  I will be erecting a deeper nest box for them for next season.  They came around for a few days after their baby was taken but have now stopped.  This was quite upsetting but it is pleasing to know that you have had success with your rosellas.

ps We did erect a nest box for kookaburra in the trees out of sight of our deck nest box which the kookaburras took a great interest in, however this was taken over by a brushtail possum which left Mr kookaburra back to attacking the rosella box, not to mention our windows.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Sad you have not had a great success with your hatchlings.  You do become very attached to them and do get upset if things do not work out for them.  Nature can be very cruel.

The rosies did leave us a present though as thanks for their temporary home, LICE! on the read deck.

I too have bigger and better plans for next years nest box to make it safer and more comfortable for them, but my wife says once is enough, she does not want to go through the inconvenience of not using the back deck for a couple of months for fear of disturbing the rosies off the eggs or abandoning the young and also get upset when we thought the last one might be abandoned in the nest.

Brian DJ

timmo
timmo's picture

sundew,

I have a similar problem.

I erected a nest box to hopefully attract the Pale headed Rosellas at my place, and they paids it some interest, but it was eventually taken over by a ring-tailed possum. (I think the entrance was too small for the brushies to get in).

I then put up a second one, and it is currently under attack from brushies and/or ringies trying to get in, despite a slightly smaller entrance and overall size.

I do need to get up there at some point and see exactly who is in which box, just for my own curiosity.

I guess there is more demand from possums than PHRs.

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

I am not aware of your box positioning, but could you put some metal sheeting around the tree a metre or so underneath the nest box so the possums can't get a grip to climb and then only the birds could access it.

Brian DJ

sundew13
sundew13's picture

What a shame about getting a present of lice Brian DJ.  Maybe a good spray around will get rid of them and with the birds gone they wont have a host.  I know what you mean also about the back deck being off limits for the nesting duration.  Cant use ours either at that time, although they seem to get a bit more tolerant over time.

And hi Timmo,I I guess it also goes to show the competition over nesting hollows.  I hope you dont get any nasty surprises when you lift the lid and see who's in which box.  The lid of the kookaburra box came off and that's when we discovered the brushie in there, who stayed firmly put when the lid was fastened back on.  He wasnt going to move for anyone.  I even think the kookaburra jumps in there with him sometimes.  Hmm I think I need more boxes.

Cheers.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Just an update for 2014.

In the past couple of months we have been lucky enough to raise another 5 Pale Headed Rosellas.

This year identical to last, mother rosie (Mosie) laid 6 eggs and raised 5 babies, all of which survived, so we can say that we have helped to add 10 new rosies to our area.

No lice this time as I built a new nest box and lined it with carpet which I sprayed with termicide and then covered with seed husks etc about 6 months before Mosie laid her 2014 eggs, so the termicide would have been dried up and still perhaps some faint bits under the carpet, so no lice this time.

After the fledglings leave the fledglings never return to our property, only the parents return, and they call in each day to see if there is any food out for them.  We only put a small amount of seed out infrequently and go away quite a bit, so they don't get much food from us, but apparently it is enough to make them check as they fly past.

Brian DJ

pacman
pacman's picture

thanks for the update, a pair of well-looked after PHR

Peter

Reflex
Reflex's picture

Woko wrote:

Your fondness for cats is most touching, Night Parrot.

 laughlaugh

Samford Valley Qld.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

2015 Update:

In the last two days our favourite Eastern Rosella has laid two eggs in her new and improved nest box.

This is a bit unusual because in 2013 and 2014 she laid her eggs in September, so it will be interesting to see if she has another batch in September as well, making a double hatching for 2015.

Brian DJ

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Just an update on our Rosella hatchings.  September 2013:  laid 6 eggs, hatched and fledged 5  -  September 2014: laid 6 eggs, hatched and fledged 5  -  March 2015: laid 4 eggs, hatched and fledged 4  -  September 2015: laid 4 eggs, hatched and fledged 3.  That is 17 new pale headed rosellas in to the local population in 2 years.  I just wish I could insert a tracking chip in to each new rosie and find out how many actually survived to adulthood and where they are, because they never come back to our property after they fly away with their parents.  Mum and dad call in every day as they pass, just to see if there is any food out for them, but we never see the offspring return to our property anyway, mum and dad must tell them that this is their nesting site and do not ever come here.  Brian DJ  

Woko
Woko's picture

Nice to read of a high breeding success, Brian. At the very least you're doing your bit to conserve the Pale-headed Rosella population in your area.

pacman
pacman's picture

Brian thanks for the further update.

Pale-headed Rosella has been inlcuded in my favourite 3 pics in another thread.

Peter

jason

Brain, would you like to share some info on breeding box V2.  Material used, sizes, and if you think coating it make a differance.  I have read to paint, and not to paint, ply doesn't last long in not painted, and marine ply is pricy.  The herbicide sounds interesting, but mine will be in a tree I think. 

I spied a pair of PHR around my place when we moved in 10 months ago, but have not seen them since.  We still have a reasonable amount of bush around, but you never know what's been felled so a box could be a nice project.  

thanks for sharing, congratulations on the Rosella maternity ward.   

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Hi Jason,  I hae made mine out of normal wet resistent ply, but mine is on the back deck out of the weather.  I am sure you would get good life out of a painted wet resistent ply particularly if you sealed the end grain properly even in the open.

Will include a photo of my latest upgrade to the nest.  I made a hole above the entry so I can shine a torch inside to take photos - videos.  Brian DJ

Devster
Devster's picture

Nice upgrade, looks bigger too. Thanks for sharing.

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Jason if you are wanting cheap (perhaps free?) timber that will survive the weather, you could consider using offcuts of hardwood decking (if you can find it). You can oil it on the outside for extra protection. This one I made from decking offcuts and just some screws and hinges.....

jason

Brian, I guess you put the pro painting argument to bed.  That's a nice box in a handy spot.  I think many amongst us would love to have a situation and set up like that.  I stumbled on a sheet of ply I have, I'm keen to do a bit this weekend, and paint it up in a woody green colour for the tree.  

NP, unfortunayely for the forrest, but fortunate for me I work where decking timber is in plentiful off cuts, as to ply. I'd say decking will do a decage easily without any pritection, just leave it raw.  How heavy do you thnk that bad boy is.       

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Not good news yesterday, it was blowing quite strong, probably about 25 knots and I noticed a friend walk over to the neighbours house and pick up something and throw it over the bank, so I asked him what it was and he said he saw a pale headed rosella fly/blown in to the large glass door of the poolhouse and it is dead.

It is probably one of my breeding pair, so time will tell if one or two of them return to look for food or a breeding box in the near future, none came today and they normally drop in to see if there is any food in the plate at least daily.

A month or so ago there were great fights on the back lawn between two pairs of pale headed rosellas, which I guess was fighting over the breeding box, but my original pair (I think) won and only two had returned since then.  Their fights were really severe with feathers everywhere and on top of one another on the ground pecking at one another, I had to break them up and could have picked them up they were so engrossed in their fued.

Hope I have good news in the future, because we will really miss them if they don't return.  I guess with breeding 17 new birds in to the local community over the past three years some might return and continue their breeding in our bird house.

Brian DJ

Woko
Woko's picture

Those glass poolhouse doors are a real menace, Brian.

If any of the birds which bred in your nestbox return to breed let's hope they bring partners from afar so that genetic diversity increases.

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

Our 2016 story begins.  We have a pair of Pale Headed Rosellas frequenting the nesting box again, but I am not sure if it is the same pair because we found one dead from flying in to a neighbours pool house glass door on 1/1/16.  Things were a little different, with no rosies for a while, then one and over the past few months a pair again.

I am not sure if they mate for life, so I don't know if it is a completely new pair or just one new bird, but the main thing is that we have a pair and yes, we have 6 eggs again, which is normal for our Spring hatching.  Spring is normally eggs 6, fledgings 5, so hopefully we can emulate that again.  I did notice that the first egg was laid about a week before the other 5 began to appear, so perhaps that is why one does not hatch.    

Will keep you updated as events occur.       Brian DJ

bacdj@bigpond.net.au
Brian Desjardins's picture

All 6 eggs hatched and all 6 fledged and that now makes 23 new pale headed rosella's in to the local population so far from my nesting box.

Brian DJ.

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