This nest was discovered earlier in the week at the Rise and Shine – it belongs to a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. As you’ll see in a moment, this species typically nests low down in a shrub or eucalypt, but on this occasion selected a crevice on the trunk of a mature Yellow Box.
Another visit the following day provided a surprising turn of events – a pair of Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters were visiting the nest, removing small pieces of wool and bark to add to a different, partially constructed nest in a small Long-leaved Box nearby. It’s a puzzle … was it the same pair having second thoughts and choosing another location? Or could it have been a different pair pilfering material from the original nest builders? I’ll never know!
Postscript: John Hutchinson’s terrific Avithera blog has an article on his observation of Brown-headed Honeyeaters apparently dismantling a White-naped Honeyeater nest in Gippsland. John’s note also makes mention of an article (see below) in the journal Corella which I’ll track down soon.
LEY, A.J., D.L. OLIVER & M.B. WILLIAMS. (1997). Theft of nesting material involving Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae). Corella21: 119–123.
Thieving of nesting material in 10 honeyeater species and six other passerines is described, in the Bundarra-Barraba region west of Armidale, New South Wales during a study of Regent Honeyeater’s biology in 1995-96. Theft of nesting material was from both active and inactive nests. The contribution of theft to nest parasite transfer (e.g. lice) and to nest failure in Meliphagidae is discussed.