White-browed Scrubwren nesting high

Subject: White-browed Scrubwren nesting high
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 12:54:50 +1000
Thanks to those who replied to my posting last week regarding White-browed Scrubwrens nest-building 2.5 metres high in my jasmine. From the replies I received it seems that this species occasionally has a tendency to nest above ground level in sheds or garages:

-Dean Portelli told me about a nest he found a couple of years ago in Gippsland Victoria about a metre off the ground amongst some folded material in a garage. This year he has been told the birds are again nesting in the garage, probably much higher in the eaves of a caravan.

-Vicki Powys told me of a nest she had once seen built in a piece of rolled up carpet that was hanging from the rafters of an old locked toolshed, perhaps 2m above the ground. There was no obvious way the birds could get into and out of the shed and Vicki thinks they might have been getting through a hole in the floorboards somewhere.

-Syd Curtis told me of one which nested in his mother's tool shed on Tamborine Mt, S. Qld, about a metre off the ground.

Unlike these examples, 'my' scrubwrens are nesting in vegetation, which is incidentally underneath the eaves of the house.

Since my previous message I watched the female spend almost the whole of the 28th and 29th and the morning of the 30th continuing to build at a frantic pace. During this time she brought progressively finer material - on the 28th it was mostly leaves, leaf skeletons and moss; on the 29th grass and other "strippy" material; and on the 30th fine material like tree fern fibre. She then stopped about mid-morning when it started raining, and I observed no further activity until 4.30pm on the 31st, when she started bringing beakfuls of very fine fibrous material, I'm not sure whether this was fur or plant fibre.

I have seen no further activity at the nest since then, and I am hoping this is because the nest is complete. If that's the case it means that building was completed in little more than two intensive days of work.

Unfortunately I won't be able to tell if and when eggs appear as the nest itself is inaccessible without causing major disturbance. I can't help wondering if the female is already sitting as I have only seen the male around today. Time will tell.


Carol Probets
Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW

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