Sunday, 10 September 2017

Mossie vs Malechite!

I am sure that everyone knows by now that Rob and I are avid bird-watchers! Not the serious twitching ticking off lists and peering through binoculars type, but the meander round the place and enjoy what we find type. We love the comings and goings of several different species in the garden and go through tons of bird seed and fruit a year, kilos of sugar for the nectar feeders, and I have also just discovered suet...... but the shops in Vredenburg haven't yet!!

So when the Malechite sunbirds decided to build their beautiful nest in the ficus tree in the wine barrel in the corner of the veranda, we were thrilled! We were a little worried about the cat-flap being a metre or so directly beneath it, but we are always around to deter the feline members of the family, and the birds are far more clever than Morris!!

So for about ten days we watched the sunbirds gather all the cobwebs that they could find from the corners of the windows outside (now do you see why I do not clean??? Think of all the nesting material that would be destroyed if I sallied forth with a broom?) Day by day the nest developed into the shape and size necessary, and the female lined it with feathers, fur and bits of cotton.

The beautiful Malechite nest

And she laid an egg!

Now, on the other side of the veranda just under the tin roof, the mossies (House Sparrows) have built their nest. This is an untidy collection of bits and pieces of grass, twigs and leaves and if it falls or blows down, they simply re-build it it. I admit that they got there first, but there is room for everyone, and all seemed peaceful.

The Cape Sparrow nest, somewhat messy.

Until this morning.

I heard the sunbirds calling and the mossies shouting, but thought nothing of it until I suddenly realised that it was a lot louder and more aggressive than I realised.
The mossies were intent on destroying the Malechite's nest and were actually pulling bits off it. The poor sunbirds were hovering and trying to chase the mossies away.

And then I heard an odd 'plop' sound.

When I went out to check, I saw the egg on the tiles unnder the nest, smashed of course. The mossies had pulled or pushed the egg out of the nest. I could see the yolk and the bits of broken shell. To add to the confusion, a pair of Lesser Double Collared sunbirds arrived to see what was happening and they stayed for a while, almost commiserating with the Malechite pair.

The mossies are still trying to evict the sunbirds, and the female knows that they had something to do with her missing egg because she has been checking their nest.

Rob and I keep going out to chase the mossies off, but I have a feeling that they will carry on until the nest is destroyed.

I am angry and sad and surprised. I really did not think that birds could behave so badly.

I thought that was reserved for humans.....

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