Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tailorbird nest and egg :(

Our Indian Almond tree is estimated to be as old as or even older than our century old - 101 to be precise - house.  Four years ago I got its top half chopped as it had grown very tall and had spread too many branches.  Also it shed a truckload of huge leaves twice a year [March/September], which I found increasingly difficult to manage.  So since then I prune the branches every now and then to keep its growth in check, thus also limiting the quantity of leaves that would fall.  The dry leaves also serve as fuel for our hot water boiler. Mynahs, crows, spotted doves and other birds and also squirrels enjoy the tree's good shade.  It has also been the 'maternity home' for tailorbirds.

Two days ago I decided to prune it with the long bamboo stick with a curved hook-like knife to pull down the small branches.  Picture below shows the remaining branches after I pruned.

Inadvertently I had cut a branch that had a tailorbird nest which I saw at the time of dumping all branches into a pile.  Dusk was catching up as I finished pruning.  So I kept this branch separately to take a close look the next day.  

My morning coffee was in one hand, the nest in the other, I sat on the stone bench admiring both.  See how the extra cotton is pushed out on the sides - picture below.  This is to hold the cotton padding and [coconut] fibres in place, around the inside. This is a medium size leaf it has chosen.  There are even bigger leaves. I had provided these birds some nesting materials last month. See my recent post [click]. 

These birds do not read any books, attend any college or school, yet, they have so much commonsense.  
All they do is observe and follow their parents and follow their instincts.  This is what humans  should be aping! :)  Modern man never seems to take lessons from Nature. 

The nest looked fresh as I peeped inside.  While sipping coffee one more time, I thought for a moment that the little bird had grown and flown away without me noticing, unlike during its last nesting season.  Just then my eyes fell on a small white object a few feet from my stone bench where I was sitting.  That was where the cut branches had fallen. 

I picked up that white object, which was the egg, obviously having fallen out of the nest and landed on a small sand heap, safely.  I show the egg on my palm to indicate its size. 

As I was feeling sad, having disturbed the nest unknowingly, I saw the usual scene of the tailorbirds flying in for their first visit of the day to my Yarden.  One particular bird [out of the 3-4] started to look for something near the spot from where I had pulled down that particular branch.  It must be the builder searching for that nest which was now not where it was. It was clearly confused.
I felt really sorry for that and begged a silent pardon from the heart.   

  I hung the nest using a wire after keeping the egg in it.  Now even if the egg hatches and a chick arrives, it will not survive, because the parents will never find it in its disturbed location and hence will never get the parental care and food.  :( :(

I had dumped the big pile of leaves and branches out of our gate.  To my luck, the municipal waste pick up truck came within two hours, a sort of a record. And on its own!  See the pile below.

Here, carefully see the truck in front of our gate and the man putting the 'green gold' into it.  Picture from my room window.