Wednesday, May 23


although i am always on the lookout for nests, finding them is always a serendipitous moment. never on purpose, often by chance, but always a pleasure.

we spotted the wood-swallow nest last weekend from the car.  we were on our way home from sunday mass and we passed by the electric pole at the exact same moment one of the parents landed on the nest, pinpointing its exact location.  on monday, i left for work earlier than needed, to give me around three quarters of an hour to observe the nest.  whlie adri and i were documenting the nest and watching the wood-swallows, we noticed a crested myna flying back and forth several times to a location we couldn't figure out.  but its behaviour made us think that it, too, had a nest we were driving home that afternoon, we slowed down by the wood-swallow nest to check on them and as we drove on slowly, adri suddenly said, "ayun ung myna!" sure enough, the myna was perched on top of the 2nd electric pole down from the wood-swallow's (this one was an old, wooden post). after a couple of seconds, again at the exact time as we drove by the pole, it dropped into the hollow of the pole and disappeared from sight!

now you see me...

and now you don't...

mystery solved!

the next morning, we were able to squeeze in a few minutes before work (again) to check on our old (well, one day older) and new nest finds.  we wanted to try to figure out what stage the myna nest was at.  we could hear the adult mynas calling from nearby palm trees. in a few minutes, we spotted an adult flying in and perching on the electric wires, carrying green, leafy material. after a quick look around, it flew to the top of the wooden pole, took a peek inside and hopped in, out of sight.

a delivery of  grass... nesting material for a new nest?

they were still building the nest!!!

this un-nerved us a bit, because it meant that there was still a high chance they would abandon the nest if they got too suspicious of our surveillance.

after the adult left the nest, we moved under some trees where we were better hidden from view and waited a while more.  we realized that one of the adults kept watch from the top of the taller adjacent concrete pole or from the palm tree beside us across the street, as the other adult flew off further.  at times, both of them would meet up at the palm and fly off together, but never for more than 5 minutes at a time.

after a short while, one of the adults flew in carrying something in its beak, landed on the palm, looked around, flew to the nest, looked around again and dropped into the hollow.  it was carrying a lizard!!!

what's that you have there? that doesn't look like nesting material...

food! a lizard for hungry chicks?

it probably wouldn't stock up on food if there weren't any young birds to feed, would it?

the traffic on the road was too noisy, and the pole too high up for us to hear any distinct calls.  the next delivery brought in was vegetation again. and then another lizard. and then more leaves.

more grass...

...and another lizard via the same circuitous delivery route.

and then more leaves...

i was in danger of being late for a meeting, so we decided to leave.  i was also uncomfortable with the looks the myna seemed to be giving in our general direction, i was sure we had been spotted.

a quick check of the wood-swallows revealed that the young birds were getting bolder and bolder, venturing further out from the nest on the iron bars. i wondered if there was any inter-species communication between these neighboring birds both raising families. oh if birds communicate like humans, what conversations i could make up!

later that afternoon, adri told me that as he processed his video footage, he could hear excited chirps picked up by the camera's mic as the parents arrived at the nest.  the mynas, it would seem, are feeding a family. we'll keep our eye on them, fingers crossed that we will witness the fledging.

adri's video helped confirm young birds, listen for soft chirping when the parents come in and one of the parents carrying off a fecal sac in slow motion

wood-swallow update: this afternoon, the pair of woodswallows were out of the nest and on the top of the next electric pole down the street!  they were still chirping noisily and begging from their parents, but it looked that they were in the middle of a flying lesson!  the parents would fly from the nest pole to the next pole (nest to next, get it? haha) with the 2 young birds following them, with more agitated and ungainly flapping of the wings. while still a bit unsure in their flight, they were already showing a bit of the aggressiveness and character of wood-swallows. it looks like this one's a successful fledging!

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