Judy Quah’s sunbirds return to nest yet again (6th and 7th nesting)

posted in: Nesting, Nesting-failed, Sunbirds | 3

On 10th January 2011, Judy Quah posted an account of a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds (Cinnyris jugularis) nesting in her highrise apartment balcony that was subsequently destroyed by a lone monkey before the nest was occupied. This was the fifth nesting. The fourth nesting was in April 2010.

On 20th January, Judy reported that the sunbird started salvaging from the old nest to build elsewhere. “I know it is somewhere near because it comes back very quickly to take the cotton wool from the old nest. In two days half the nest is gone. I am so sad. I hope the monkey will not find the new nest.”

Two days later Judy reported, “The sunbirds should be building the new nest in the next lobby. I am not able to locate the nest because it is not within my view. I have moved the birds’ favourite plant to the upper floor balcony and also the remaining nest. Should the sunbirds nest there, it would be safe from the monkeys. So far, the nesting pair still came to my lower floor balcony to feed on other plants. A male sunbird has been feeding on plants upstairs now but it is not the same sunbird that built the nest. I hope I can attract this other pair of sunbirds to nest there.”

Judy excitedly reported on the 1st March, “…the sunbirds are back to nest. Remember I told you that I moved the old remnant nest upstairs and also their favorite plant? Well, it worked. Today the mummy bird started building on the old broken nest (above left). It’s a different pair of sunbird that left the broken nest. I am going to leave cotton wool for it and see if she will use for the nest…”

Nine days later an egg was laid (above right). Unfortunately the egg somehow fell out of the nest and broke. The female returned to the nest and laid another egg. Whenever she left the nest, her mate would flutter around until she returned. This was unlike the first egg when she hardly returned until nightfall.

“The mama bird returned the following night and thereafter every night. Both mama and papa bird were busy feeding the baby (above) and soon she grew and flew away. It’s a female bird because she is yellow all over. The baby bird comes back every day to feed on the flowers and I was watching to see if it might change in color like you suggested before that the male gets it’s olive color later. So far, it’s still yellow,” reported Judy.

In early May while Judy was in Sydney, her son called to inform that mama bird was in the nest at night again (left). Two days later he peeped into the nest and found two eggs. This was the 7th nesting.

“On the 16th of May onwards, I realised that mama bird did not come back to the nest at night. I peeped into the nest and there was only one egg left. Mama bird has not come to the balcony since. Only saw papa bird feeding. I wonder what has happened to mama bird. I hope the monkeys didn’t get her. The egg is still in the nest. I am still waiting for mama bird to come back but my hope is diminishing with each passing day. Is there anyway that I can incubate the egg?” wrote Judy. The egg has probably gone bad. The male returns regularly to feed on the flowers but not the female.

Judy Quah
May 2011

3 Responses

  1. Bismillah Kader

    Thank you Judy. Bismillah here. We have had a visiting pair for many years. They love our mirrors. We have one in the Balcony and a large mirrow in the dining area. Then one day in February 2017 the pair built a nest on one of my berry potted plant on our balcony. They seem to love being near water. Our balcony overlooks a lake. We were disappointed last year after we heard the sound of chicks. We stopped checking and then we thought we saw a dead chick.
    This year the same pair has returned and built a nest, much more robust. there are two eggs and I am getting worried because its been over a week and no sound of chicks yet.
    Fingers crossed I am like a worried grandma.

  2. wee

    Hi Bismillah, you are welcome to send in an account of your experience for posting in this site… interested?

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