Splendid Fairy Wren
This little bird is rarely seen in Bunbury because it has not adapted to urbanisation, streets and tidy gardens, but for the second year running it has been spotted at the Big Swamp.
Two pairs on opposite sides of the lake, so in separate territories both happily and noisily foraging so hopefully they have decided to stay.
The brilliant blue of the mature male is its breeding plumage, the non-breeding male is brown with blue in the wings and a bluish tail, the female is similarly coloured but with a chestnut bill and eye patch. They are social birds and are usually in groups with the previous years immature birds helping to feed and care for new nestlings.
These small birds have interesting courtship displays, sometimes an undulating flight with neck extended and head feathers erect, descending slowly then springing upwards after touching the ground. Another display is presenting pink or purple petals to the female, these colours contrasting beautifully with the plumage and drawing the females attention to just how "splendid " he is.
Breeding occurs from late August til January, the female builds the nest. It's a round or domed structure with the entrance to one side, close to the ground and well concealed in thick and often thorny vegetation. Incubation is 14 -15 days then the nestlings are fed and cared for by all group members.
Their diet is mostly ants, grasshoppers, spiders and bugs and supplemented by seeds and berries. To glimpse the flash of brilliant blue as they dart among the branches of the shrubs which have all been planted by Friends of the Big Swamp is such an encouragement. Proof that we can make a difference to our environment because not so many years ago this was the site of the town rubbish dump.