N.Qld Sunbird nesting frequency

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Birdfriendly's picture
N.Qld Sunbird nesting frequency


A new bloke here and have joined to find more about Olive back Sunbirds in my area.

The birds have been seasonal vistors to our house over 22 years. They have been confident to build nests over 3 or 4 years in our garage right over the dogs bed. To our knowldge the birds were never  threatened or  harmed by our dogs.

Over the years we have become attached to these little birds and consider them all our babies.

Last year they built their nest in the low eaves over our laundry.Theres nothing special in that but since the first hatching and departure of grown chicks in January this year, (2018 ) there has been two more occupations of this nest .The chick in the nest at the moment will fly any day.

It strikes me as odd as the birds weve "boarded" previously have only nested once per year.

Now there has been three nestings in under 12 months.

I believe it to be the same pair as the male loves to play on my wifes wind chimes 3 meters away from the nest.

Do the multiple nestings strike anybody else as odd?



dwatsonbb's picture

Lovely birds to have around, lucky you. Perhaps the Sunbirds have detected a particularly good season, with resources in abundance. We have Masked Lapwings, which are now raising the second brood for the season (first nested in July) , and they will probably squeeze another before summer hits. It is widely believed that native birds and animals can predict the seasons, and will breed according to the resource availability. Hopefully someone who knows this species better than I can answer with more knowledge?

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Birdfriendly's picture

Hi Dale,

I know the seasons are out of kilter where we are.

The mango tree/ are fruiting and that does not usually happen for another 6 to 8 weeks.

Possibly my little temporary boarders are just following a trend. Its common up here for them to nest adjacent to humans.

Talk about close, though, the back of their nest is about 150mm (6 inches in the old money) from the laundry window. I can take pics of the mum and dad feeding the chicks.

They put up with a lot in the evening with  us turning on the external lights to feed the dogs.After 3 nestings it does not seem to bother them much.

I enjoy their company.


Woko's picture

Grahame, a nice relationship you have there. They seem to feel quite unthreatened by your minimal or no disturbance to their lives & they return the favour by giving you lots of pleasure. 

I agree with Dale. Animals tend to breed in their natural state according to available or predictably available resources. 

Birdfriendly's picture

Since my last post the sunbirds have been back in the nest 2 more times. They nested, again around the beginning of November and produced 2 more chicks. I have a 9 x6 meter shed and the mother bird had the chicks in the shed-teaching them to fly when I was working there - or was it to say goodbye to me?

More likely mum sunbird considered my shed as safe training ground . I tried for photos but the baby resting on the steelwork was too small to been ID,d in the resulant phone photo .

I was attached to My sunbirds and talked to the mother when I am passing. Theres nothing strange in that as I talk to the cockateil and the dogs, Strange is when they answer back.

The mother bird had occupied the nest, yet again, on xmas eve for a few days,  but it seems she may have been  taken by something as she has not returned to the nest in the last 3 days.

Now I am hoping that the progeny might return and raise baby sunbirds.

Have a happy new year folks.


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