Busy Breeding

Yellow Figbird Steady, soaking delicious rain is refreshing the earth, the plants and all the creatures including us.  There may be some negative aspects to living in the tropics but I wasn’t enjoying the dry crackly feeling of the last few months and I am delighted to feel the earth soft again under my tread.

The house garden is full of activity and there are several nests we have been observing closely.  Two Figbird pairs have constructed their flimsy stick nests in a Calophyllum inophyllum and a Yellow Oriole pair has built a more substantial nest in a neighbouring Syzygium angophoroides.  Not far away a Black Butcherbird pair has built a nest on a tree branch which is beautifully sheltered by a palm frond.

The Orioles have been very busy feeding a couple of youngsters as have the Black Butcherbirds.

Yellow Oriel on nest

As the adult Oriole flew off the nest this morning I looked up and was surprised to see one of the babies was sitting on the edge of the nest while the other fledgling was already flapping and jumping through the little branches of their nesting tree.  The parent bird returned to watch over them and to chase off firstly a Helmeted Friarbird and then another Oriole.

Then I watched while an adult Butcherbird smashed up a beetle on a dead tree stump and fed it’s babies.  We are wondering how long it will be before  the newly fledged Orioles become food for the Butcherbird’s hungry youngsters.

As we have a huge population of Yellow Orioles on the property we are somewhat philosophical about this possibility – it is all about keeping a balance.

Oriole fledgling on nest


Yellow Oriole fledgling



12 responses to “Busy Breeding

  1. Only a mother could love it 🙂 Great to have these lovely birds nesting in your patch.

    • Hi Lorraine, it is fun to be able to observe some of the nesting birds – there are many more species that breed here successfully whose nests we never find!

  2. Nice to have all that nesting activity around you. Even nicer to have rain! It’s so dry down here 😦

    • Hi Mick, I’m sorry to hear that you are in need of rain (I suppose its always needed somewhere) – we are having ‘scattered’ showers and appreciating every drop although you may have to remind me of this comment by March/April!

  3. Hi Allen and Barbara
    Nice report, and “balanced” view of the Oriole chicks being potential food. In a sense it is true of everything.

    • Hi Denis, Thank you for your comment – I can hear one Oriole chick calling this morning but we had 27mm in the last 24 hours so it wasn’t the best day for them to leave the nest.
      Cheers from us

  4. Maybe the Orioles have an understanding with (or of) the Butcherbirds?

    • I’m not sure Tony but the Butcherbirds have been hunting from dawn to dusk in order to feed their two robust youngsters so the Orioles will have to maintain their vigilance.

  5. What a cute oriole chick!

    I once watched an adult black butcherbird feed a large water dragon to its fully-fledged offspring. The young butcherbird just sat there, like a big feathered lump, while mum/dad did all the work. Kids these days …

  6. The young Butcherbirds are growing fast and both adults work hard all day capturing food for them – they must be exhausted! And you’re right, it doesn’t stop once they leave the nest.

  7. G’day Barbara,
    Beaut report. Only a mother could love those Oriole chicks, hey? Yes, you need to be a bit philosophical when comes to monitoring fledglings. I’ve been watching some Choughs closely of late. There were two equal sized youngsters in the nest for quite some time, but I see there is only one junior bird following the family around on the ground now.

    • Hi Gouldiae, I’ve enjoyed your Chough reports as they are not a bird I’m familiar with. I expect that one healthy youngster is a postive outcome for them. We think there is only one Oriole chick left and so far the Butcherbirds still have two young in their nest. The Butcherbirds are constantly hunting all day and last night when dusk had really become ‘dark’ one of them took a frog from the verandah.

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