The Waggies Bird Nest

We have a bird box in a tree, equipped with a camera and microphone. The first season the box was up (2002), a pair of Eastern Rosellas raised three healthy young in it.
So for the next season I fitted a B & W camera to the top of the box. It is now a colour camera.
Below are some captured pictures. The quality is poor, but its all experimental at this stage.
Click here for more details of the nestbox and camera.

In the pictures below, the camera is mounted in the top of the nestbox. The entrance is at the top of the screen. During the day, the nest is lit by outside light through the entrance. For the B&W pictures, at night the nest is lit by two low power infra-red LEDs.


Eastern Rosella

I noticed rosellas visiting the nestbox, looking inside interestedly, then leaving. So I pulled down the nest to see why, and give it a cleanout. Inside was debris from the previous tenant, and lots of ants. I got rid of them, cleaned it out, widened the bottom (that Adelaide Rosella sure was cramped last year), and fitted a translucent plastic panel above the entrance hole to increase the light for the camera. And I fastened it all together securely to eliminate a few of the cracks opening up in the permapine. Success. An Eastern Rosella is nesting in there.

She was attacking the bottom and any protrusions or anomalies in the box, as rosellasa have done previously. Thinking she wanted more cushioning for her eggs, I added a heap of 'wood wool'. Well, she proceeded to pull that to bits, and must have chucked most of it out, cos the second picture shows an almost bare bottom. She continues to nibble at the nest. One of the steps I nailed in the front is gradually getting whittled away.

Thu 14/9/07 pm

An egg appears.

Mon 17/9/07 pm

Saw two eggs this afternoon. After the pair (of birds, not eggs) had flown off, a pair of kookaburras turned up. One sat on top of the nest. Don't know if they wanted a feed or a nest. I chased them off. Same thing happened last season.
One of the steps is even smaller now. All that will be left is the nails!

Thu 20/9/07 pm

Three eggs this morning. She is sitting on them a bit more now. Still nibbling the bottom step.

Sat 22/9/07

When I look at 11:20, there are four eggs. Only a moment before she had left the nest!

Mon 24/9/07

Five eggs now. Can she raise all of these?.

Sat 27/9/07

On a cold wet morning, she finally leaves the nest to reveal siz eggs. The sixth was probably laid yesterday. No way will all of these survive.

Mon morning 15/10/07

We got back from a holiday last night. This morning reveals one egg, and a bundle of fluff. Even with mum gone from the nest, it is hard to distinguish bodies, but presumably there are five chicks in there.
Until I can get images automatically uploaded to the net (as I've had previously), I'm not not home enough in daylight hours to capture good images.
(Maybe I need to train Leah up.)

Wed morning 17/10/07

Now I know how mum can survive and feed the chicks without leaving the nest for more than a minute. The dad feeds her, as well as the chicks. Then she feeds the chicks. Both of them were feeding the chicks while dad was in the nest. If anyone wants a crude video of the pair (57MB), email me. It was great watching the two in the nest, then mum and the chicks. There is still one egg in among the bundles of fluff.
Unfortunately the radio link is noisy. I'll just have to hard wire the camera all the way to the computer.

Sat morning 20/10/07

The mum is away for quite a while. The wriggling bundle of fluff and scrawny necks is hard to count as chicks. At least four, maybe five, but not sure. Looks like one tiny fluff ball at the bottom of the picture which is not moving. The rest of them are wriggling around, each trying to get a neck on the top of the pile. The eyes are big black patches.

Tue morning 23/10/07

The chicks are getting bigger, and mum is spending longer times away from the nest, presumably getting food. It is still hard to tell, but I reckon there are five scrawny chicks in there.

Fri morning 26/10/07

A Bit bigger, with very long scrawny necks now. Feathers are just beginning to replace fluff.

Wed evening 7/11/07

All five chicks are much bigger now, though not all at the same stage of development. Mum and dad are both feeding them, and they appear to be thriving. Feathers are well grown and colourful. Some chicks are stretching and flapping their wings -well as best they can in the confined space. And they are looking outside, especially when one of the parents is sitting on a branch. Usually the dad sits outside and feeds from there, while the mum comes into the nest to feed the chicks. A strange sight tonight has been mum virtually upside down for quite a while. I don't know what she was doing, but on coming up again, she immediately started feeding a chick. An active chick was at one stage, standing on top of another, pushing it to the floor. The squashed chick didn't seem to complain, but eventually struggled back up.

Saturday 10/11/07

Bit of a disaster today. I was getting frustrated by a few small branches blocking my view of the nest in watching the chicks poking their heads out. So I cut off a few fronds with some snippers on a pole. Unfortunately I got it caught in the tree, and in yanking it loose I frightened the chicks. Two flew out, one into the front yard, and one over the house toward the back. Later I caught the one at the front and shoved it back into the nest. The other one I couldn't find! So it is down to four chicks in the nest.

Tuesday 13/11/07

This morning when I turned on the TV to watch the bird camera, I could only see two in the nest. Michele earlier saw one or two flying from the nest, over the house, followed by the parents. Tonight there is one left. A parent was feeding it, but didn't entice it out, even though it looked keen to go. Tomorrow.
I've been putting seed in the bird feeder out front. The parents have been at it, when the lorikeets would let them. (Damn bossy lorikeets.)

Wednesday 14/11/07 6.30am

The nest is empty. The last chick has flown the coop. Sniff.

Pictures -latest at the top

Feeding so fast, mum is a blur - 11/11/07

Expectant bunch - 7/11/07

Nearly ready to fly off - 11/11/07

More food please dad! - 7/11/07

Dad outside nest - 3/9/07

I chased a couple of these guys away! - 17/9/07

I know you're out there mum - 7/11/07

Mum upside down - 7/11/07

Mum still upside down - 7/11/07

Food please mum - 4/11/07

Mum feeding not-so-small chick - 4/11/07

Plenty of coloured feathers now - 4/11/07

Peeking out to the big world outside - 3/11/07

Early wing flapping and stretching - 3/11/07

A beady eye looking up - 28/10/07

Just getting feathers. - 7:00 26/10/07

Five chicks in a bundle. - 7:00 23/10/07

Bundle of fluff with scrawny long necks. - 20/10/07

Its a bit crowded in here - 17/10/07

Dad feeds Mum - 17/10/07

A fluffy chick exposed - 15/10/07

Six eggs - 9:00 27/9/07

Five eggs - 13:00 24/9/07

Sitting on five eggs 24/9/07

Four eggs - 11:20 22/9/07

Three eggs - 10:45 22/9/07

Nibbling on the step - 16/9/07

Looking out - 16/9/07

One egg, almost bare floor, step rounded off - 13/9/07

Lots of wood wool at the start - 17/8/07


Adelaide Rosella

An Adelaide Rosella laid five eggs. -Far too many to rear in such a small nestbox. Only one hatched fully. It was raised successfully. At the end, one day it was in the nest, the next it was gone, baby and mother never to be seen again.
A bundle of fluff + 4 eggs! - 10/11/06Sitting on them despite the heat - 10/11/06



Adelaide Rosella

For this season I cleaned out the nestbox and made the entrance hole smaller. (I'd enlarged it at the end of the first nesting.)
We have had attention of late from Adelaide Rosellas.
Friday night (19/11/04) after a flurry of activity, we find three eggs in the nest.
That night, the mum didn't sit on the eggs. But ever since, she has been alternately sitting, perching in the box entrance, or briefly flying off.
When we move around outside and she is perched on the entrance, she tends to duck back in. But she is getting a bit bolder as she gets used to us, the car and the motorbike.

Three eggs - 10:30am 20/11/04 Mum climbing out - 12:25pm 20/11/04
Mum's head - 11am 20/11/04Asleep - 10pm 20/11/04
On the nest - 7am 23/11/04Sitting up - 7.30 25/11/04


The birdbox had been visited a number of times by one or more pairs of Adelaide Rosellas over a couple of months. A bird, presumably female, would enter the nestbox and appear to be pecking at the bottom of it with great vigour. Assuming they were trying to 'soften up' the bottom, I put some wood shavings in. This is recommended in the Gould League Nestbox Book too, which says "These birds will only use boxes with a layer of woodshavings in the bottom". Fortunately no-one told the Eastern Rosellas which nested successfully in the box previously.

Fri 19/11/04

Michele noticed activity in the afternoon, with two rosellas visiting the box. At around 8pm I turned on the camera, and we saw three eggs in the bottom. That night, no rosella sat on the eggs.

Sat 20/11/04

From the morning on, the female (I assume) started sitting on the eggs. The male disappeared.

Wed 24/11/04

I arranged for my PC to upload to this website a snap of the nestbox every minute. It worked OK, but the images were too dark. It was interesting being able to check up occasionally through the day from work.

Thu 25/11/04

The female has been on the eggs most of the time since the 20th. She rarely leaves, alternating between sitting, perching in the entrance or re-arranging the egs. I haven't seen the male.
Changed the size of the pictures on this page so they would display correctly. No moire patterns now.


Apologies to anyone who has been following this log.
The three eggs became two chicks.
One chick died the day it hatched.
The other chick died a week later on a hot 38C day.
The mother was sitting on it that day as if she had no idea of the difference between hot and cold!


No birds

Camera is fitted. It got inhabited by ants complete with eggs which found the camera innards nice and warm, but no birds.


Eastern Rosella

First season the nest is up. No camera. A pair of Eastern Rosellas successfully raise three young. The last one is a bit slow coming out. It was hilarious to watch the parents on the branches outside encouraging it out. They probably stopped feeding it as inducement. Eventually it emerged. For some days the young perched on the house electricity cable, then all disappeared.