I’ve made the statement before that Jacky Winter are birds that have stolen my heart.
They are not the most startling of colour, nor do they seem to have a particular outstanding feature that makes them a special bird. They used to carry the unfortunate name, “Lesser Fascinating Bird”, so that should be a hint as to how we’ve seen them in the past.
They have a pleasant nature, and don’ t seemed too fussed by us humans. And once they have id’d us, they seem to settle into tolerance bordering on disdain.
We were in the You Yangs some weeks back and it was casually mentioned, “Oh, I saw a Jacky Winter down near the old school building”, as in— well that ticked Lesser Fascinating Bird off my list, have you seen anything important? It was enough to make me stop on the way out and scout around.
Lo, there was the familiar cream and grey flitting from branch to ground and back again. “Hello Jacky”. I get a “Peter, peter, peter”, response. Then a second bird appeared and the familiar discussion between the pair which sounds like, “winter, winter, winter”, but probably translates to “Another pesky photographer has turned up”.
Then one was gone, but quickly followed by the second with a large insect in beak. Straight to where a small “Y” in a branch held a tiny bunch of twigs and the first bird sitting on them. A Nest!
And so began the Jacky Project.
We’ve been down a few times since then, and watched as slowly the nesting turned into small tiny beaks popping up for food, then more gradually little bundles of down, that changed to feathers and then to wing feathers developing.
Till finally we would be able to observe two well-developed young birds.
Right in the middle of all this was a few days of heat getting up to the high 30’s C. And the nest was in the open part of the mid morning till quite late in the afternoon. Mum and Dad took it in turns to sit on the side of the nest and protect the little ones from the heat, and occasionally a wing flap or two, not sure if that was heat relief for the adult or to move air over the young.
But the plucky pair stuck to the job, and the other morning, we looked and there were two very fit looking young flapping about in the nest.
There was one.
The second one seemed less inclined to make the beginning adventure, and in the end we ran out of time, but no doubt it would have been in the air before we arrived home.
We’ll have to go back and see how the young develop over the next couple of weeks. Not that they’ll be that easy to find based on past experiences.