Willie wagtail mates

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madamflutterby
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Willie wagtail mates

Last year I had two Willies build a nest on a tree branch under my back patio. They then laid two eggs which hatched and both chicks survived. As I have two cats, in fear of a chick falling from the nest, I kept them both indoors for a period of roughly two weeks while the chicks learnt to fly and were clearly well nourished. The first time I let my cats outside I made sure to sit out the back and keep an eye on them but the very second I turned my back, one of my cats caught one of the willie parents  and it died in my hands. 

From what I could gather, this was the female of the pair so I was concerned the babies wouldn’t survive... however, they did and preceded to leave the nest successfully. Sadly the male (father) willie spent most of the nights calling out to his mate and has since kept close to my backyard teasing my cats and singing his lil tune. The babies have also stayed close but are yet to sing. 

Approximately 3-4months later, a willie wagtail (which I can only assume is the father) has returned to the nest and started to sing and perch himself snuggly on occasions. 

Is this the male trying to find a new female mate or is this an entirely different female willie looking to lay eggs in the well structured, prebuilt nest? Could the father willie have found a new mate so soon and would she actually want to perch in a used nest?

please help! 

madamflutterby
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madamflutterby wrote:

Last year I had two Willies build a nest on a tree branch under my back patio. They then laid two eggs which hatched and both chicks survived. As I have two cats, in fear of a chick falling from the nest, I kept them both indoors for a period of roughly two weeks while the chicks learnt to fly and were clearly well nourished. The first time I let my cats outside I made sure to sit out the back and keep an eye on them but the very second I turned my back, one of my cats caught one of the willie parents  and it died in my hands. 

From what I could gather, this was the female of the pair so I was concerned the babies wouldn’t survive... however, they did and preceded to leave the nest successfully. Sadly the male (father) willie spent most of the nights calling out to his mate and has since kept close to my backyard teasing my cats and singing his lil tune. The babies have also stayed close but are yet to sing. 

Approximately 3-4months later, a willie wagtail (which I can only assume is the father) has returned to the nest and started to sing and perch himself snuggly on occasions. 

Is this the male trying to find a new female mate or is this an entirely different female willie looking to lay eggs in the well structured, prebuilt nest? Could the father willie have found a new mate so soon and would she actually want to perch in a used nest?

please help! 

Woko
Woko's picture

Hi madamflutterby.

I'm aware that Willie Wagtails sometimes use the same nest for raising broods. This species bred 3 broods in the same nest under our pergola some years ago. I also understand that both male & female will incubate the eggs &, later, feed their young.

The bird you're seeing on the nest could, therefore, be either the male or another female. It might also be an entirely different couple that's using the nest although I'm not aware that Willie Wagtails other than the original builders will use an old nest. However, my lack of awareness on this doesn't exclude the possibility.

The fact that at least one bird is using the nest would suggest that there are eggs in it. Continue to observe (without disturbing the nest, of course) & you may see a pair of birds swapping duties. 

In the meantime you might want to think about building an extremely secure cat run for your cat so that Australia's wildlife can be free from its depradations. With so much of our wildlife under threat from cats (& other threats, particularly habitat destruction) it's not a good look to have a cat running free, I'm afraid.

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