Not quite a partridge in a pear tree...

Sometimes birds go against everything we think we know about them and do something totally out of left field. Elizabeth Ainsworth and Allan Virtue recently shared a wonderful story with Birds in Backyards - a story of the Christmas they have just spent with a pair of Little Wattlebirds.

Rather than picking the usual tree or dense shrub to nest in, this pair of Little Wattlebirds found a safe place to nest inside the Christmas Wreath hanging from Elizabeth and Allan's front door. Thankfully, they recognised what a special situation they found themselves in and were able to move to and from their house via another door, so the Wattlebirds remained relatively undisturbed. This is so important, especially at the nest building stage, when birds are most likely to abandon their nest and find a more secure location. It was a minor inconvenience for a major event!

Elizabeth and Allan were able to keep an eye on the nest from a distance, documenting the its progress and watching two chicks hatch early in 2018 - aptly named Frankincense and Myrrh. The Wattlebird parents took turns on the nest and were never much further away than a nearby hedge. Frankincense and Myrrh grew quickly, it only takes 16 days for them to be ready to leave the nest. First one took flight, then a couple of days later, the second did as well. As is common for fledglings, it wasn't a graceful first flight, crash landing in a crevice. Thankfully it was retrieved and returned to the nest, where it took a more successful flight a few hours later. 

A big thank you to Elizabeth and Allan for allowing such a wonderful event to happen and for documenting it but also respecting the space that birds need, only intervening when necessary. Having birds nest in your yard, or in this case, literally right on your front door, is a very special experience. Most of the time a garden with lots of vegetation is needed, but birds can surprise and use all sorts of spaces around us.


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