She’s Already Building Her Next Nest!

2nd nest, day 2 of nestbuilding

2nd nest, day 2 of nestbuilding

How interesting this all is! Yesterday (day 14 from first hatching) the mother started construction on her next nest in the other bamboo planter in our courtyard.  I heard her fly in, so stopped to watch what I thought would be her hunting for insects for the babies. Instead, she landed on a branch and I saw her doing something that looked like preening her belly, but she came up with fluff in her beak and started jabbing it into a clump of something on the branch. I quickly realized that the little clump was a new nest – as if she isn’t busy enough feeding those two fat little hatchlings! It was interesting to me to see how much down she was working into what is essentially the base of the nest.  Today I saw her fly in with nesting material, put it into the nest, add a bit more down, then fly over to the babies and feed them, then fly off again. Really so much energy she must be expending! However, it does seem efficient that by the time these babies fledge she’ll have a nest pretty much ready to go for the next clutch.  When we originally noticed her building the first courtyard nest, someone had called the Audubon society to talk to them about it, and they said they thought it was probably her 2nd clutch of the season, as it was a little late for it to be her first. (they normally have 2-3 in a season). My books don’t mention whether they reuse the same nest, but this certainly answers that question. Makes me wonder if the first clutch was also somewhere in the bamboo and we hadn’t seen it.  I’m reassured by her building this new nest right in the courtyard – she must not have been too put off by all of the spectators that we’ve created by pointing out this nest to so many people. We worried that we were going to create stress for her, even though she seemed relatively habituated (after buzzing us occasionally while we stood down below the first few days) to people looking.  Now I feel like she must really be OK with it or she wouldn’t have chosen the courtyard bamboo again. The good news is that this new nest seems to be even more in the open, so photography should be really a lot easier for this next clutch. Perhaps I will invest in a new camera…

Meanwhile, the babies continue to grow quickly and thrive. (Maybe she can’t reuse a nest because of how stretched out it gets from these big babies!)

day 13 from first hatchling's hatching

day 13 from first hatchling's hatching

day 15 from 1st hatching

day 15 from 1st hatching

today, more feathers, yellow disappearing from ever lengthening beaks, and first time I’ve noticed an eye open on hatchling #1 (I’m guessing which is which as one seems slightly ahead of the other, which makes a bit of sense as they hatched one day apart). We saw one of them flicking its long hummer tongue.