Most mornings I’m woken by the chattering of the family of Willy Wagtails Rhipidura leucophrys that have a territory centred on the area between my apartment and the neighbour’s house and up the hill at the rear of the block. They usual start their day a half-hour or so before dawn and are still hunting for insects for the same time after sundown.
The local pair have taken advantage of the great season we are having in the centre and so far this year have raised two clutches and I’ll expect that, as prime examples of avian opportunism in the desert, they may well raise another couple yet in this season.
The shot above is from yesterday afternoon and shows a sub-adult bird (I’m unsure if it is from the previous clutch and giving its parents a hand with the next brood or if it is a young adult already breeding) feeding two of the three birds from the latest clutch.
The most precocious of the clutch was out of the nest early and has been foraging on its own for some days and is larger and far more independent—though will still take a free feed where it can— than its younger siblings.
They’ll all be kicked out the parental territory in the next week or so and left to fare for themselves.
Raising young is a stressful time for all adult birds, not only do you have to sustain yourself—with the added stresses of attending to young—but you also have to defend your territory from predators—real and imagined (see my early post of agonistic conduct between the Wagtail family and a local Little Crow Corvus bennetti on a very hot day a few weeks ago here), but you also have to feed your very demanding young.
I’ll keep you posted on their activities …