Try as I might I can’t find the photo of the pardalotes that took up residency in our compost heap at the start of spring. What I can show you is the picture of their nest, now that they have moved out of it.
TB has obviously been watching too much Time Team as he ‘sectioned’ the compost heap so I could clearly see the nest (no doubt he’ll be sinking sondages next looking for Roman pottery).
If you are having trouble following their construction method here is a tarted-up version …
The birds dug an entrance hole in the side of the compost heap and proceeded to dig a tunnel some 30cms into the centre of the heap. here they dug out an oval chamber and in the chamber they built their nest. Every so often they had to do some more digging as the compost heap slowly sank down over summer.
Here in my hand is the nest itself, which seems pretty standard as nests go.
I thought they might have just lined the cavity and sort of burrowed into its centre to lay their eggs, but I clearly got that bit wrong. The nest seems to be mainly constructed out of the coir fibre from an old hanging basket liner that we left out for all the garden birds to use. We never did see any hatchlings but these little birds were so swift in and out of their burrow that it was hard to see just who was coming and going. As the birds had occupied the nest until about a month ago they certainly had the time to raise several sets of young. Apart from limiting our access to that particular pile of compost it was really rather special to have our our pair of pardalotes in the garden.