Moments: Hiring a “Tradie”

EE spent much of November and December working with a Black-shouldered Kite pair that were raising two new, fine looking, young.

By the end of the year, the pair had given the young ones their marching orders and apart from a week or so of occasional visits the young now seem to have taken the hint and moved away.  Interesting to see, mostly the male, fly round them and keep them away from the resting female. Try as they might to slip past him, his diligence and vigilance, and fly skills meant it was all a bit in vain.

So, we thought. That will mean the adults will move on soon, as this area hasn’t traditionally had a ‘resident’ (not that Black-shouldered Kites are resident), pair.

So we thought.

On the way through the forest in the morning, and we were surprised to hear the pair contact calls.  She with a harsh “SCRaaaCH”, and he with a plaintive ‘Pee, pee”.

And there they were both sitting together on the edge of a clearing.   Ok. Time to get some pictures before they leave.

So we thought.

Surprisingly, after just a short break—less than a month—  they are back in business with a new nest site.
So while she sat and occasionally gave encouragements, he took on the role of a ‘tradie’. Lifting and bumping branches, twigs and long sticks. Then rearranging them into the chosen treetop.

While all this anecdotal, and is for this pair only, its been interesting to watch the progress.

Each stick is very carefully selected, and cut, or broken from a surrounding tree. He spends many minutes in the selected tree, and then either nips off the short small twigs or flys at them and pulls them off, or failing that flys at them full tilt and carries off the main branch by force.  Doesn’t always work, as occasionally a stick just doesn’t want to break away. 🙂

Then back to nest, much ‘pee, pee’ing as he approaches, and parachutes down into the treetop.  Then there is quite a bit of activity as he carefully threads it into the right place and satisfied, he usually spends a few minutes (say about 10!), sitting in the nest, and working out perhaps, what is needed next.

Then its off to “Bunnings” for the next load of building supplies.

In the hour or so he made about 6 visits, and she remained on her branch a long way back from the activity, and occasionally added her thoughts to the procedure.

What is interesting of course is that they have settled in for a second nesting. Perhaps the food in the area is likely to improve.

Time will tell as to their success.
In the meantime, here’s the Tradie.

She was quite happy to preen and watch proceedings from afar.

Stepping out of the nest to continue the work.

Off to Bunnings for another visit. Perhaps he likes the sausage sizzle on Tuesdays.

The early morning smokey light has given him a richer colour, and at first I thought it must have been one of the young birds in their ginger dress.




13 thoughts on “Moments: Hiring a “Tradie”

  1. A wonderful series of images as he prepares the new home. Hope the nesting is successful, great to know they are having another try.
    The rain has been good today – 15 mm in my gauge and the thunder is still rolling around as I type.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Eleanor, Its funny how we see conditions one way, and they see quite a different scenario. I’d not have expected them to even be on the site by now, so its a bit of a bonus


    1. Hi Derek, appreciate your interest. It’s only the second nesting pair we’ve worked with in the past 12 months. A sneaky local pair seemed to get the young off, and then disappear in a few days. Must be the conditions are better in this area.


    1. Hello Ashley, feel quite charmed by this pair. Given we’ve worked with them the past few months, there is not much concern about our presence, and most of these flyby shots were taken remarkably closeup.
      Hard not to ‘kind of step over the boundaries’ with them, but we seem to be benign to them at the moment.

      When I first started inflight photos, a mentor told me of how difficult it was to work with Black-shoudlered Kites, and at the time one was sitting on a tree about 100 metres away. “See, you just can’t get close to them.” 🙂
      With the single exception of Kestrels, among raptors I’ve found Black-shouldered Kites to be extremely tolerant if approached with respect.

      Liked by 1 person

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