Our cats were running up and down the back yard today, in the cat enclosure, making enthusiastic noises about something fluttering just under the netting. It turned out to be this beautiful Spotted Pardalote, which had found its way into the cat enclosure through the holes in the lattice fence. Don’t worry, no damage was done. I put the cats inside and with a little guidance, steered the Pardalote into the fernery so that it could get out again.
Before it flew out, the Pardalote seemed calm enough, sitting on a large shrub. The field guide says that one of their favourite nesting places is in hanging baskets, so I have my fingers crossed that it doesn’t decide to live in the fernery. That would be a very dangerous place to try to raise a family. While the cats can’t get to our hanging baskets, they would chase the birds if given half a chance. I try my best to protect the wildlife by keeping the cats inside the cat enclosure, but apart from rescue and release, there is little I can do if the wildlife break into the enclosure.
This little bird is tiny – the field guide suggests 8 to 10 cm. I guess that is right, as I had difficulty finding it when it was fluttering around under the netting. They build their nests of bark shreds, and line them with grass, so there are plenty of nesting materials around here. Sometimes they nest in a hole in an embankment, or a brick wall. Breeding season for Spotted Pardalotes is September to December.