This morning, I heard scratching noises and thought of snakes. We get a few snakes and since we are almost on the end of winter, it is time to come out of hibernation. My friend Heather at work lives in the western suburbs of Brisbane, Australia like me. Heather said she and husband Gary found a python on their dining table when they got home last week. My family lives about 15 minutes away from Heather so snakes have been on my mind.
The scratching noises seemed to only come from one place, unlike snakes which move and travel fairly quickly. I followed the sound outside to our flood lights and found a Butcherbird. She was re-arranging one of two nests outside my son’s bedroom. The nests are on our floodlights so they are at least 15 feet off the ground. I smiled, feeling good about this nesting effort because this would be the third time the magpies used these nests. They had cleverly positioned the nests away from everything, including snakes.
The twig nests have been sitting on those lights for almost two years since the first two magpies build them. They served almost like a magpie birthing suite.
I had thought the Butcherbirds would be territorial and build their nests new. The previous Butcherbird babies live in the yard. They sit on the verandah rail and sing their hearts out for food. While we live in an rural suburb, and there are still a lot of trees they could build their nests on, these birds preferred the existing nests. I was curious about these nests being re-used so I Googled to see if it was normal for Butcherbird to re-cycle nests. Here is a link I found that did not have much information on the re-cycled nests but provides an in-dept information on the bird’s life.
While searching, I also spotted something similar with re-cycling and crows. Similar in the sense of using what they can find to make their nests. This made me more curious about birdlife and how they adapt to the way we humans live and destroy many of their natural habitation. I also wondered about how much we really understand about the re-cycling and controlling our wastes.
In Japan, crows have taken nesting to a somewhat artistic and highly intelligent way of using wire clothes hangers to build strong nests. It could also be a case of doing the best with what is on hand.
Picture by Goetz Kluge