Little Jouneys: Home Catastrophe

Ok, I know they are simply ‘House Sparrows’. Somewhere there is a text that says, “…  And not one of them is forgotten?”

We had, EE, David Nice, and I been sitting waiting for some young Black-shouldered Kites to do something Black-shouldered Kitey.  Now raptor time is quite different to human grasp of the sun moving across the sky, the earth turning on its axis, its rotation around the sun, and the turn of the solar system in the spiral galaxy… etc.

While we were waiting we noticed that a family of House Sparrows had become interested in a dead trunk of a eucalyptus  in the area. The old sun-bleached and rotting wood had a number of openings and spaces that would apparently suit the sparrows in their nesting quest.

So over the next couple of hours a procession of birds carrying varying pieces of nesting material flew back and forth.

The male seemed more interested in offering advice than in carrying much, although to be fair he did lay in some pieces of grass.

A few days later we came back to monitor the kites and found that the old rotten trunk had suffered a major event, and a good metre of so of the wood had parted company from the main trunk and lay on the ground.  But what it did reveal was all the work of the past few days. The nest was exposed. Needless to say the male was none too happy about the turn of events, and if despair and disappointment are part of their makeup, then he certainly was upset.

We wondered if someone might have pulled the wood loose, but given the location it was most unlikely.  I am guessing that as they kept pressing the grasses into the small space that the pressure became so great that the old rotten areas simply couldn’t support it and down it came.

There was much discussion among them about using the lower part of the stump to restart a new nest, and they even bought in some twigs and grasses to get started.
Will have to wait till the next visit to see if they go on with it.

Bringing in the supplies. It’s possible to see how rotten the area was.
The supervisor at work
Oh, no. What has happened.
The front face of the trunk has fallen away leaving the nest completely exposed.
Time for the engineer to inspect the damage.
Hard to be sure, but it might be that the pressure of so much building material was just too much for the old wood.
I’m not sure, but I don’t think adding another piece of carefully chosen grass is going to solve the problem
A new start? Perhaps there is still room underneath for another attempt.

8 thoughts on “Little Jouneys: Home Catastrophe

  1. They are resilient little characters, but it may be prudent for them to choose more wisely. He was sitting on a branch with much to say yesterday. Hopefully they will rebuild and all will be well with their world. But they may want to beware – the Spotted Harrier was in the area yesterday, kept its distance after working the far south-west corner as it took in a north westerly direction, presumably into the wasteland behind the athletics track.

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    1. Like rabbits, foxes and starlings, they are on the ‘great survivor’ list. Their ability to be able to adapt gives them an edge. It was such a perfect nest for photography that I was a little sad to see it destroyed.
      Haven’t seen a Spottie in over a year. Not suprising, as we haven’t been out. 🙂


  2. Sparrows use to always be seen as domestic nesters under house eaves etc, not out in the woods. We don’t have them here, as the Miners may have dispatched them in the past, but they were when I was a lad. Interesting seeing them nesting in a tree, but I guess it is more private. Great that you re out and about again checking your Kite family David. All the Best !

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    1. Sparrows are as prevelant here as mice. In our village when the lawns are freshly mown, its not unusual lto see 30-50 working over the grasses pulling up the green shoots underneath and leaving a haze of white uneaten material on the top of the lawns.
      Most of the scrub around here will have its fair share of sparrows.
      In what much be the sparrow irony is a flock of Tree Sparrows that have made their nests in the eaves of a local nursery cafe. 🙂

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    1. Hi Eleanor. I was a bit hestitant in publishing but I thought it interesting to share the size of the nest material that they have carried in, one beakful at a time.
      Given their propensity to exploit their surrounds, I suspect by the next time we are out there that thing will be sorted out.
      Persistant little survivors, I always have a bit of respect for their abilities.

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  3. Sparrows must be particularly good for writing stories. I still remember a book from my childhood about four young city sparrows. I love your story and the shots of their nest are very interesting.

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    1. Interesting how some things from our childhood seem to follow us in a grand way, and we can draw new insight into things that happen to us now.
      I remember a book for young photographers, that I borrowed from my local library when I was hardly a teen-ager. Can still see in my mind’s eye many of the ‘old’ photo illustrations and advice. Pity is I can’t recall either title or author, I’d love to have a copy to recall how the magic carpet has flown for me.

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