Minor Miners.

Noisy, territorial, aggressive, and a little too successful, the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) is not one of Australia’s favourite natives. Part of their success is their prolific breeding, which can take place at any time of the year, when conditions are most favourable. Around our area, the soundtrack for the first two weeks of September has been one of plaintive, squeaky begging as the Miner chicks gradually fledge. It can be easy to forget, but all those bullish, noisy Noisies were once small, fluffy, hungry, sleepy chicks.

Their nest – built solely by the female – is usually in moderately dense foliage on a lower branch – often as low as 2-3 metres (or just high enough to make a shortish photographer stretch uncomfortably on tip-toe!)

When the nest gets too small to comfortably hold the chicks, they are moved out onto a branch – quite often in a different tree. We have not been lucky enough to witness this procedure yet, so we are not sure exactly how it is accomplished. They seem to sit on the “fledging branch” for another few days, and continue to be fed by the parents.

A parent appeared to feed the chicks:

In a West Ryde laneway a day later we spotted this family. The three chicks (one sat a little way off so we couldn’t get him in shot) seem to be almost ready to takes to the skies. They are the most advanced chicks we have seen that were still being fed on their nursery branch.

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