Sunday, June 25, 2006

La Vie et la Mort

The black redstarts have not been hanging around their nest lately. Here's why:

The chicks are gone! I assume that something got them during the night; they certainly were nowhere near fledging, only having hatched on Tuesday (click here to see). I haven't researched yet to see what could have been the culprit - I suspect maybe an owl or some other winged creature, but there are other possibilities. At any rate, the chicks are gone and so are the parents.

I'll leave the nest up for a little while, but I'd be surprised if the redstart comes back to lay more eggs.

I've done some research, and it seems that accipiters are common predators of small birds and chicks. According to Wikipedia, accipiters are known commonly as goshawks or sparrowhawks. Other candidates include a mouse or a rat, or even one of the neighborhood cats. If any birders are reading this (and you know who you are), please tell me what you think.

I looked up goshawks (accipiter gentilis - autour des palombes in French) and sparrowhawks (accipiter nisus - épervier d'europe in French) in the bird books. They do live around here and they do prey on small birds captured live.

Also, the bird book says that the black redstart typically nests twice a year: once in April/May, then again in June/July. Sometimes they will nest a third time in July. What I don't know is if they'll return to the old nest or build a new one.

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. It was very interesting while it lasted. We've had predators "scramble" the eggs in two nests that birds set up on our old patio. Guess the predators just need to eat, but it's still disappointing.
    Chris P


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