Friday, June 29, 2012

A Tale of Fantail Flycatchers and Peaches

If you have been following this blog regularly, you would be knowing that a pair of Fantail Flycatchers builds its nest in the vicinity of my house every year. This time it was no different. Just about a fortnight ago, a pair started building their nest in the lone peach tree in my backyard which was virtually loaded with peaches, albeit small ones. I'm not sure why it chose a branch which was not hidden at all but one of the reasons could be the dearth of trees for nesting nearby as a majority of the trees in my locality have been uprooted in the last few years, leaving little choice for our feathered friends.

It was simply awesome waking up to the melodious song of the pair everyday and this time I was really hoping to see it rearing its young ones soon as the nesting in the previous years had failed unfortunately. In the meanwhile, the peaches were getting bigger in size rather quickly and the tree literally became an insect paradise, with each and every leaf densely covered with multiple insects of varying sizes. Also since the peaches were becoming ripe, they were dropping from the tree regularly everyday which no doubt perturbed the pair but they had no choice but to continue brooding.

A few terrifying thunderstorms marked the commencement of monsoons a couple of days back and every time the branches swung wildly I wondered whether the little creature and her nest would survive but the bird did well to brave all that nature had to offer. 

However now the peaches had started falling in large numbers every hour, and as I observed the bird and its nest from the bathroom window, it became clear that another failed nesting was on the cards. Peaches were falling literally inches from the nest and a branch full of ripe peaches was hanging right above the nest, at a vertical distance of 10 feet or so. All it would take was one peach to cause serious injury to the bird apart from yet another failed nesting. The photo below shows the state of my backyard and you can well imagine how difficult it would have been for the bird to continue brooding despite all odds.

This morning, as I wondered to myself the reason for the lack of the familiar tune from my backyard, I stepped out and here is what I saw. No doubt my worst fears had indeed come true! A peach had landed right on top of the nest! What a pity!