🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.
Thursday, 24 September 2015
My Robin is nesting!
Since My Cape Robin-chat (Cossypha caffra) moved into my garden a couple of years ago, I've watched him and his wife rear many a brood, but never managed to get a shot of the nest and eggs. Last month (August) I watched as they made their nest in my bathroom court-yard amongst the ferns and managed to get a nice pic of this perfect little home!
But before they could occupy this neat little space, the Karoo Thrush started snooping around, obviously having seen the activity of nest-building, and Robbie and his wife gave up the idea of laying eggs here.
At the moment there's a war raging in my garden. It started when the Karoo thrush decided to evict Robbie from inside my house and claim the space as her own and for months Robbie never came near the house. Luckily he has returned, often spending time in my lounge and dining room and for a moment there I thought they might choose the thatch roof over my plasma TV to make a nest, but that hasn't happened yet. But out in the garden, the minute the Thrush sees the Robbie, the chase is on, and when Robbie spots the Thrush, his tail stands straight up in the air!
Then, over the past two days, I watched as the female Robin kept on going in and out of one of the Restio plants in my garden, so this morning I decided to investigate and see if they were making a new nest.
And 'lo and behold, there was the fruits of their labour, two beautiful spotted eggs! When I approached, Mrs. Robbie hurriedly left the nest, giving me a couple of minutes to get this one photograph and she was back the minute I turned my back. Hopefully the Thrush is not aware of their little hiding place. It's only about 12 inches off the ground and very private and obscured, but it always amazes me the funny places the Robin chooses to nest.
When I looked back, Robbie was sitting close-by, keeping an eye on me and making sure his wife could return in safety. I managed to get in a quick capture.
The nest is usually built solely by the female in about 1-14 days, gathering a clump of material together before shuffling its body into it to form a cup. It is usually made out of bark fragments, twigs, dry grass, fern fronds, rootlets, dead leaves, moss and seed pods and lined with finer fibres, such as hair, rootlets and plant inflorescences. Egg-laying season is from about June-January, peaking around October-November. It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14-19 days.
The female broods the chicks throughout the night and intermittently through the day, for the first 5-11 days of their lives. They are fed by both parents, eventually leaving the nest at about 14-18 days old, remaining dependent on their parents for about 5-7 weeks more. During this period the adults are particularly viglant about protecting their young, sometimes attacking snake such as the boomslang (Dispholidus typus) and Cape cobra (Naja nivea) - luckily none of those around here.
So over the next few weeks I'll be keeping a close eye and hope to catch a glimpse of the babies when they leave the nest.