🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Farm Talk - Robin vs Wagtail

Camera: Fuji FinePix 2800ZOOM

I posted this article before, in Sept 2008, don't know how many people would go that far back in the archives, but at the moment I've got a very similar scenario going on between my Robins and Cape Wagtails, vying for the best nesting spot in my Fan Palm tree, so I thought I would just publish it again. Luckily, as yet, there have been no fatalities so I'm hoping they'll be able to sort out their differences.

Up until the end of April 2003, we had lived on our smallholding (8,5ha) in Tarlton since 1975. Over the years, I had established a lush garden with numerous indigenous trees and various types of ivies, one of which covered the kitchen wall on the South side of the house and in which the Wagtails made their home. I also had a resident pair of Cape Robins, nesting in the ivy creeping up a dead tree trunk opposite the Wagtails. I dearly loved my Cape Robins, who would take mince out of my hands at the kitchen window, but I must inform you that they are utter terrorists as far as the Wagtails are concerned!

Over a period of 2 weeks, I watched in fascination as both the Robin and Wagtail parents fed their chicks. (After a long, careful search I located the Wagtail nest in the ivy on the kitchen wall – the Robins’ nest was much lower opposite them and more obvious). Both sets of parents scurried hurriedly for the available cache of insects and the Robins, who would dive-bomb and chase them at every opportunity, constantly harassed worms, with one hitch – the Wagtails.

Then, one morning, I heard the Wagtails’ panicky cries and to my utter horror, found the Robin plucking the Wagtail chicks from their nest, dropping them, bleeding and fatally injured. The gentler Wagtails could do nothing but scurry helplessly about. I tried to rescue the unfortunate Wagtail chicks, but to no avail – they were already dying.

The only conclusion I could come to was that the Robins regarded the kitchen window and my mince meals as their domain and begrudged the Wagtails being anywhere in the vicinity!


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