Solve this puzzle!

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.


Yellow-tufted Honeyeater nest, Rise and Shine, 20th September 2016

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!


Yellow-tufted Honeyeater gathering nesting material … from a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater nest!




The second nest suspended amongst Long-leaved Box foliage


A visit to nest #2 with strands of bark gathered from nest #1


Only the birds know what’s going on!

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.

3 responses to “Solve this puzzle!

  1. As everyone who enters the real estate market knows Geoff….location, location, location!

  2. Considering the long wet winter we have had and flooding n divers places, are they building higher up each time? If so, we might have much more rain to come!

  3. Pure postulation Geoff but on Saturday afternoon just near the entrance i saw a vigorous encounter between the YT and a fantailed cuckoo. The YT was barging at the FT persistently. The FT was all fluffed up , wings out and making a most unusual noise . If I was to anthropomorphise I would say it was screeching . The ‘kafuffle ‘ only lasted 30secs or so . Just maybe the YT built a new nest because of harassment but then I didn’t think FT used the nests of honeyeaters

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