Spotted Pardalote recognition and nesting

Subject: Spotted Pardalote recognition and nesting
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 08:44:14 +1100
I just wished to share our experiences with a pair of Spotted Pardalotes
that are presently nesting in our garden at Aireys Inlet, Victoria.  These
birds first built a nest in December last year, but to our disgust, either
a dog, cat or fox dug the nest out.  Only a week later, the pair of
Pardalotes undeterred, built another nest not 20cm from the original.  We
promptly erected a cage around the nest, which has proved successful as we
can now hear chicks calling from the hole when the parents come to feed
them.  Does anyone have any ideas how long it will take before the chicks
emerge from the hole?

Last night a male Pardalote crashed into one of our windows.  Thinking that
it was one of the nesting pair, we placed it in the caged area so that it
could recuperate.  Alas, only a few minutes passed and the 'real' male came
with a beak full of food to feed the chicks.  It landed on the cage, and
rather than making the usual call when they approach the nest (due to the
food in its mouth), it surveyed the area and spotted the other male.  It
stood on the cage for over 10 minutes simply looking curiously at the
offending male.  It did not make any sound or calls at all.  When it did
move on,  the female came over and started making a right ruckus!  I then
came over and, with a towel, picked up the still groggy male and placed him
in a box.  The gutsy female was within arms reach, jumping around and
calling, whilst all this was occurring.

A few things stand out from this, the Spotted Pardalote pair appear to not
be very experienced, placing a nest in an area with only overstorey trees
and little cover to hide their hole (we are revegetating the block).  To
their credit, they tried again after the initial setback.  Another is that
the eyesight of Spotted Pardalotes is good enough to allow recognition of
other individuals (most people will be familiar with the continual double
note call of pardalotes  - which we assume is to inform each other that
they are still within ear shot).

Oh, by the way, the male that crashed into our window flew into the trees
about an hour later (with a bruised eye and I guess a bit of a headache!!).


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