A story of nesting tailorbirds from India

on 25th July 2009

“I am Rekha from India. I was surfing the net to find some details about the birds that nested in my garden and reached your site. Yes, they are tailorbirds. A month back, they had made a nest on a potted hydrangea plant, around 2-3 ft. from the ground. There were 4 eggs and the mother warmed the eggs for more than a week. Unfortunately, one morning, we found that the plant was disturbed by a cat there was no trace of the eggs. We were very sad. To our delight, the same birds nested again on the same plant 2 weeks later. Almost the same position as before. This time, the nest was cleverly rolled in a leaf. Again there were 4 eggs. And 4 chicks were born on July 6th. Until Monday (13th July) morning, the parents were flying in and out, feeding. But we haven’t seen them afterwards. On Monday night and Tuesday night, the chicks were left alone in the nest, mother was not there. We are away during the daytime, so not sure if they are being fed in the day. Last night, the chicks were alive. They have black feathers now. I am wondering if 7 days are enough for the warmth of the mother? Why are the chicks left alone at night? The chicks didn’t cry or open their mouth when we checked yesterday. Is it because they are fed during the day? We are worried. Do you have answers?

“And one thing. The mother was not scared of us even when we looked into the nest when she was there. She would sit in the nest with her beak pointing outside. She would not fly away. Do tailorbirds get used to humans?”

Rekha added later: “The adult birds were not in the nest when we checked at 10 PM last night and today morning. We usually leave home at 7.45 AM. We haven’t seen them until then…”

Rekha Mathews
15th July

On 16th July, Rekha added: “I have good news. The adult birds are feeding the chicks alright. Yesterday evening and today morning, we saw them taking care of the babies. But the interesting thing is that, they don’t sleep with the chicks in the night. Last night also, the chicks were alone in the nest! That means, they stopped warming them up on the 7th day!”

Note: Unfortunately Rekha has not identified the tailorbird. And an image is not available.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 Responses

  1. hey! the same incident happened here also….but on 04 aug 2009 morning i saw the nest broken down in two pieces….i don’t know ……are chicks eaten by cat or they flied away????
    chicks were 24-25 days old….

  2. Hi Rekha ,

    I came across your blog post as I was trying to find out the frequency of tailor bird laying eggs , the same scenario as you have explained has been the case with our garden …and some how the first time after the birds hatched the plant was disturbed when I went to check in the morning , there were no chicks fortunately 3 out of 4 were around the nest and since they had not not yet developed feathers I placed them back in the nest.

    The 2 birds which survived after hatching till almost 8 days have took their first flight today

    I clicked photos of them in nest while they had no feathers to today after their first flight ( had spent quite some time searching ,afraid they fell out again ) on a plant near by …I dint find an option to upload pics here in comment else I would have .


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