Wednesday, March 10, 2010


….. or, in this case, wasps.

While we were wandering through Irongate Reserve on the February outing, Shirley brought to my attention a bird’s nest in a low scrubby bush. It was not complete and looked abandoned. We were checking this out when I noticed a Common Paper Wasps’ nest further along the branch. Here's one of their nests at my home.

Unfortunately we were too busy looking to take a photograph at Irongate, but this is a particularly interesting association between birds and wasps. Honeyeaters, gerygones and finches have been known to purposefully build their nests near paper wasps nests. It appears the wasps keep predators away from the nest. Overseas research shows that it is only small birds that take advantage of this as wasps seem to attack the larger birds. One study in Costa Rica found that nesting attempts were significantly more likely to fledge young than nesting attempts without wasp nests. Lesley

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