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17Nov

A DAY OF DRAMA

I wish you had been here to share the wonderful events that have happened in the garden over the last couple of days. Its been very hot, around 37 degrees, and the birds have been feeling the heat as much as I have. The two Lewin’s Honeyeater chicks in the nest outside my kitchen window were thriving, and were just starting to chirp and were making incessant demands for food. While I was having breakfast this morning – at the breakfast bar from where there’s a view of the nest, one of the chicks was trying to swallow a huge moth that its father had delivered – and managed to get it down successfully, much to my surprise. All seemed well. They’d developed a hint of feathers on their tiny wings and olive green down on their bony little bodies, but by lunchtime they has started to become a little too adventurous for their own good.

I warned them that if they didn’t behave themselves they were in danger of falling from the nest, and my prediction sadly came true.

At mid-day the nest was empty, but subtle chirping led me to discover that the chicks had made a bold yet foolhardy escape and had tumbled not only out of the nest but over a low wall and were in the darkness in a cavity under the floor of the house.

Some time later, with sore and dirty knees, I retrieved them, thinking they’d be safe in a cardboard box as, in their efforts to escape, they had damaged the flimsy nest beyond repair. The little Houdinis had other ideas however and quickly made their escape from the box. One vanished from sight, but I gently gathered up the sole survivor, that gave its location away with mournful chirping, put it back in the box and moved it to a shaded position – as its frantic parents watched the proceedings. They dutifully fed it with flying insects and grubs that they had skilfully caught, and it was last seen fluttering out of the box again to explore the wide world where it would hopefully survive all the dangers that it would inevitably face.

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