Breeding season in my GBS precinct in Deakin has
been best displayed by a busy female magpie who has been building a nest for the
past two weeks. When I first observed it, I was surprised at the position
- a fairly flat and exposed bough of a eucalypt rather than in a fork. The
nest developed with many observed visits of the female carrying sticks and the
male perched in sentry position nearby (especially late in the building
period). First there was just a thin skeletal bowl shape and then,
progressively, a substantial bowl which looked to me noticably larger than
magpie nests usually are.
Yesterday morning (Friday), the bird was busy in
the nest and seemed to be adjusting sticks. By lunchtime, with the wind
howling, my wife and I passed again and saw that the nest was no longer in the
tree but lying fairly intact on the ground. The surprise was that the nest
contained no fewer than three wire coat hangers, substantial pieces of plastic
webbing and other man-made flotsam and jetsam. This probably explains the
large size. How she got these heavy elements into the nest is a mystery -
I did not see her carrying anything but sticks in my casual observations.
It would have been quite a sight to see!
My conclusion is that the bird was probably an
inexperienced nest builder and that she will have to improve her choice of site
and materials. Perhaps the male may have to improve his choice of mate if
he wants to increase his chances of breeding successfully.
The attached photo shows the hangers fairly clearly
and gives an idea of size relative to my foot.
Any comments or similar observations?