“This nesting by the Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) was around the visitor centre, and over the waters of the lake. I think the birds must be quite used to people, and confident in its nest position, which was some way over the water out of reach but highly visible to anyone walking past.
“The Fantail’s nest is cup shape, very neatly made, from fine grasses woven and held together by spiders’ web. The one in the picture was highly secured to the branch by many strands of spider’s webbing, unlike some that I saw, which were badly sited on the reed or grass stems alongside the river banks, some of which had fallen off, but suspended by a thread of web. Grass or reed stems tend to wave around a lot in the wind too.
“So taking pictures of the birds on the nest was not an issue, they confidently just sat on the nest, the male and the female changing shift every fifteen to twenty minutes or so. I have observed that they do not bring food offerings to each other, which means that the birds, when they are not sitting on the eggs, must find their own food.
“Before changing shift the one on the nest will leave the nest on seeing his or her partner nearby, perched on a branch above the nest, chattering excitedly as if to tell the other to hurry up to take up his or her position over the eggs.
“It must have been the nesting season in Sepilok, as birds from munias and Pied Fantails, to the Black and Red Broadbills were all nesting in the gardens of the resort that we were staying in. They were found in very low bushes, so much so that one could just reach out to the nests quite easily. So what this means is that the birds could have found that humans in the resort’s garden would not cause harm to them.”
Rainforest Discovery Centre