Having spent two months clicking some of these amazing birds, I was convinced I was not going to spend much time with this new hobby. I was wrong. While I was returning from a morning walk around 5th June, 2020, I saw an Ashy Prinia building a nest near home. Curious, I spent some time watching this little bird take one twig at a time and carefully placing it inside what seems to be a work of art already.
I started watching this nest almost everyday post that to see if I can see a pattern of how they go about laying eggs, to hatching them.
The fun began on 11th June when I waited for the bird to fly away and going in for a closer look. I had a 10-minute window to do this, without disturbing the mother. Lo and behold, spotted a lovely looking egg.
On 12th June, the same pattern – the bird and me, but slightly different result, now we have two eggs.
13th June, went as predicted. Three!
The next day, 14th, it was nuts, I mean eggs. FOUR eggs! Someone needs to tell them about family planning.
I was away for the next three days, hence I didn’t really follow up. Moreover, I wanted to make sure that the Prinia is not noticing my pattern and getting excited to lay more eggs. Ok, that’s a joke. Anyway, following this one closely to see how this story pans out. While I am not able to follow a pattern, I think the male and female Prinia’s are taking turns inside the nest, guarding the eggs.
It is very close to the road, hence human movements are making these a little fidgety.
While this is going on, inside the community vegetable garden, the folks who do the pruning/ landscaping, spotted another nest. There are three eggs in this one.
Here, interestingly, I was able to spot the male Prinia (Its a guess) feeding the female one while it’s inside.
These stories are on-going and will be updated as and when things unfold.
Update (18.06.2020, 6PM).
So the pruning had exposed the second nest little too much and other predators (Crows/ cats) may have got a hint about these eggs. The good folks here managed to cover it up with some plants for now. The parent seems unfazed and is sitting inside.
Update (19.06.2020, 8AM).
Nest 2, two of them have hatched. The mother and father are taking turns in feeding them I think. Since it is covered well enough from other predators, we don’t get to see a lot either. Which is a good thing. Please note, I am using extreme caution while approaching these nests. And, the pictures are taken from a telephoto lens from a distance. Request our folks in the community to also be sensitive to this extremely delicate set-up and not be too excited to go and have a closer look. Advise your kids accordingly as well, please. If the parents feel threatened, they might even abandon the nest.
Update (19.06.2020 – 1 PM).
Fearing cats and crows from accessing the nest, Sangeetha and I ‘hatched’ a plan to create a slightly more secure space. I went out to get bougainvillea branches for this exercise.
Planted some of these around the nest making sure the adults were away when we did this. Managed to peek inside to realise, all three eggs have been hatched.
The parents kept taking turns in getting small feeds and looks like they like our reinforcement as one of them was nicely hoping on it while getting out.
Update: 20th June – 5PM.
Feeding on almost like a relay. Little ones are moving about inside the nest.
Update: 21st June – 7AM.
The cats around are becoming a bit of a bother. Had to cover the nest a little more. Unfortunately, this may not be enough, will have to think about making this more secure. The little ones are growing up fast.
Update: 22nd June. 5PM
Looks like the adults have re-adjusted the nest to take the weight of the growing juveniles. Badly focussed image today. We’ve had a case of a cat eating a Bulbul and some 8 eggs today, hence thinking of working on some more protection for this nest tomorrow.
Update: 23rd June.
The feed size is increasing, so are the little ones. I spent some time during my lunch break today with more reinforcements of the bougainvillea branches to keep these away from the cats.
Nest 1, on the other hand, seems to be in a safe spot. The eggs should be hatched any day now.
Update: 25th June.
I keep looking up the two nests regularly. Although, I haven’t had enough time to sit and observe like some of the previous days. Nest 1, there’s always an adult sitting inside. Hence, not sure if the eggs have hatched or not. Nest 2, is a lot more secure (not just my handiwork) as the adults have stitched them again to possibly take the weight of the growing little ones. They are getting bigger and developing wings. Waited for a while for both the adults to step out to get more food, and managed to get this shot.
Update: 27th June.
The feeding cycle is on. After the heavy rains, I went to see if the nest is intact. It is slightly out of shape, also not big enough to hold the fast-growing juveniles. But, they have wings now. So cool.
At nest 1, I finally got a chance to take a closer look when the adult wasn’t inside and they have hatched too. These look like 3 to 4 days old.
Update: 28th June
Nest 1 – “Give me food!”
Nest 2 – “We gotta find a way to fly!”
Update: 29th June
Update: 30th June.
I heard the Prinia parents’ call often today. Decided to go to the nest and see if there was any danger. Guess what? The little ones have hopped out and learning to fly. Incredible. Absolutely incredible. I feel like a proud parent. I have named them too.
Meet Whiskey, Brandy, and Gin.
A short clip to show you how tiny they are.
Bonus pic of Brandy! 🙂
Meanwhile at Nest 1, “Our neighbors are out in the open. Why can’t we?”
Update: 1st July
They are already up on the trees. Mother/ Father is bringing food and encouraging them to get higher up to feed.
Update: 3rd July.
Gin, Brandy and Whiskey are around and the adults are still feeding them and helping them get higher on tree branches. The adults let out warning signals whenever a cat walks past. It almost sounds like ‘kat kat kat kat kat” as well. 🙂
The 4 juveniles at nest 1 are getting fed and are possibly a couple of days away from jumping out of the nest.
Update: 4th July
These guys look American to me. Looks like its Independence day.
Update: 5th July
Kept a watch from 6:30 AM. One by one, they got out at different times during the day and by evening 4 PM, all of them had their freedom, finally. Due to the thick vegetation around, we were not able to spot them post that.
So, this concludes my extensive tracking of two successful nests. Honestly, I didn’t have too much of a hope for either. Nest 1 was extremely low and closer to the road. Nest 2, was exposed so much that we were almost certain other predators would’ve damaged it during the initial days itself. I end this with my customary sliders of both the nests. Thank you for following this post, I certainly enjoyed tracking these stories and updating them here. Cheers!