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Social Flycatcher egg broken on my boat deck (1 Viewer)


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There is a Social Flycatcher nest in the radome of the boat next to my boat. We have had high winds the last few nights and the nest looks like it is blowing away. I thought maybe they would desert this nest and try somewhere else, but they seem to be okay with the shape of things. The nest must go down deeper than what I can see. I wasn't sure what stage the birds are in, but I have not seen them bringing in more material, so I thought they must be finished building. Neither parent seemed to be staying really close by for any length of time until yesterday. Sometimes, they would perch on the shrouds of my boat to be near, but not next to their nest. I noticed one of the parents perched on the mast spreader next to the nest yesterday and today, so I figured maybe they had an egg(s). This evening I went out to hang some laundry on the lifelines and saw an egg smashed on my deck. It was fairly fresh, so I know it happened within the last few hours. I'm sure the winds didn't blow it over as it was 20 feet away from the nest. Something must have predated the nest. I think the parents chased/mobbed the predator and it dropped the egg. I was below for much of the day today and never heard anything. Maybe it happened while I was out birding this morning, but in this heat, I would have expected the yolk to be much drier than it was. I looked up the description of Social Flycatcher eggs just to make sure this egg was connected to them, and the egg fit the description. I know it would have been highly unlikely to be something else, but didn't want to assume. Poor birds. The nest looks like it's unravelling, and now one of their eggs is gone. Strange thing is they don't seem to be trying to tighten or repair the nest. Maybe it is only superficial damage but looks bad from my angle. I will keep a closer eye on things. There was a Tropical Kingbird perched at the top of the mast head above the nest a few days ago. It was vocal and the parents were very vocal. I wondered then if the Kingbird was a threat, but then I saw it had started a nest three boats down from the Social's nest. The owners of the boat must have put a stop the building because the next day, the nesting material was gone. The people sailed off two days ago. I have to think the Kingbird was the predator although we have Ringed Kingfishers flying around the marina. Would a Tropical Kingbird predate Social Flycatcher egg? I will keep an eye on things, but I leave in two weeks. I will do some reading to find how long it takes from egg layed to fledging for Social Flycatcher.
I did a little reading and found the nest is supposed to be a dome. I think what is hanging down and blowing about is the 'roof' that probably blew down in the big winds we had. The female incubates the eggs, but if it's hot, she will leave for periods of time. Last evening, I saw her land on the nest. She seemed to be in an awkward position on the cattywampus nest. The Kingbird was on a mast a few boats over. The male Social flew in and perched on the rigging of the nest boat.
This morning, the nest seemed as though some work had been done as there is a partial roof now. The sides are still hanging down. Also, this morning, I heard a ruckus and popped my head out the hatch. The Kingbird was on one of the spreaders and both parents were there chewing him out. She landed on the nest a few times, but was not on most of the times I took a look. I can't see her from my boat and have to go out on the dock to the other side of the mast to see her. I am most often looking with the naked eye, because I don't want to scare them by putting two huge predator 'eyes' on them. I walk a good distance away when I do use the bins. I had to go out on the deck a few times, and the parents flew in to land on their boat and watch me. The eggs hatch in about 18 days. I will be here for two more weeks, so I will miss seeing the caring for, feeding and fledging of the chicks.
Happy to hear there seems to be good nesting. Sorry you won’t still be there to see the fledglings.
Happy to hear there seems to be good nesting. Sorry you won’t still be there to see the fledglings.
Not sure if things are good. The nest looks very fragile. Wind has died down though so maybe she can continue to repair? Several times she has flown up and flutters next to it then flies away. I saw her pick at a dangling piece of grass, but let it go right away. We have had Mangrove Swallows nest in our main sail twice and when we were in Panama, we had Great Kisskadees nest on our monitor wind-vane. Neither of them seemed quite as cavalier about things as these Socials.;) Do birds sometimes have a hard time the first time they nest? Inexperience? Considering the complexity of some nests, I have doubts about that. They are so good with instinct. But maybe some birds do have a hard time with their first experience.
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I went online and found......"Yes, some bird species may fail in their first nesting experience. Nest-building and parenting behaviors can vary significantly among bird species, and there are several factors that contribute to whether a bird’s first nesting attempt is successful or not. Here are some key points:"
Unfortunately, this is from 'copilot' and I can't find the source of its information. I don't care for this copilot thing. Most of the time, I can find the article it's quoting from on the same screen, but this time I couldn't. Nesting is something I need to learn about. My Allen's hummer in my patio last year had three clutches and was such a good mother. There was a bit of drama with one clutch. One of the chicks died early on and the other left too early. He couldn't fly well enough to get up into the tree with Mom. I spent three days trying to keep it safe. A few times, I found him on the lawn, very exposed. I put him in the garden in various places that looked sheltered. Mom always found him and fed him. He finally was able to make the flight to safety in the tree in front of my house. I wrote about it somewhere. I should probably post on the Hummingbird thread. It was stressful for Mom, baby and me, but all turned out well.
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The nest looks better today, she has done some repair work. It does look like a dome now. The winds are still calm. This morning, I saw her go into it, but she was only on it for about 4 minutes before she flew out. He was perched nearby. The Ringed Kingfishers were very vocal this morning, but they were in the trees at the edge of the resort and were not bothering the Social Flycatchers. They obviously had some drama of their own. I could see them flying from tree to tree and from one side of the resort to the other while loudly churring the whole time. They are quiet now.

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