NEO 2015

Although I haven’t taken a photo every day, I am delighted to welcome a new cockatiel into our home.When Sparkles was nearly ready to leave the box, Num and Jo Jo started mating again.

Tuesday 8 September 2015 -1-5 pm. FIRST EGG! Both started incubating immediately

Thursday 10 September  2015 -1-7 pm. SECOND EGG!

Tuesday 15 September 2015 – THIRD EGG!

Friday 25 September 2015 – Middle of the day. FOURTH EGG!

Sunday 27 September 2015 – FIFTH EGG!

Tuesday 29 September 2015 – SIXTH EGG!

6 eggs IMG_2062

That was all, thank goodness! They’re so spread out, and Jo Jo was still feeding Sparkles on Tuesday 22 September 2015.

Thursday 1 September 2015 – Day 1 – A baby hatched! It could be the first egg 1 (late) or the second egg. The broken egg shell is visible behind Jo Jo.


Friday 2 September 2015 – Day 2 – I got a good look at the baby.


Sunday 4 September 2015 – Day 4 – Baby appears to be growing nicely.

IMG_2092 small

Monday 5 September 2015 – Day 5

IMG_2116 small

Wednesday 7 September 2015 – Day 7 – Baby has a huge crop

IMG_2118 small

Sunday 11 September 2015 – Day 11 – Baby Neo has grown a lot. I was worried because he seemed to be hanging his head a lot, but he is still with us.

IMG_2186 small

Monday 12 September 2015 – Day 12 – I can see Neo’s yellow crest starting.

IMG_2195 small

Tuesday 13 September 2015 – Day 13 –

IMG_2204 small

Wednesday 14 September 2015 – Day 14 – Neo’s eyes are red! He could be a lutino, like Jo Jo. There are pin feathers on the wings.

IMG_2214 small

Thursday 15 September 2015 – Day 15 – The bright yellow crop is much more visible.

IMG_2223 small

Friday 16 September 2015 – Day 16 – Yellow pin feathers are clearly visible.

IMG_2241 small

Saturday 10 September 2015 – Day 10 – Sparkles has jumped back into the box with the baby. This would never happen in nature.


Sunday 18 September 2015 – Day 18 – Neo definitely looks like a lutino. All feathers are yellow or white. During the night a baby seemed to have hatched, but we found it dead and buried under the shavings.

Neo Day 18 IMG_2252 - Copy

Sparkles 2015

In March 2015, my husband made a superb nest box for our cockatiels Birdie Num Num – aka Num – and Jo Jo.


Num and Jo Jo looked at the box when it was first attached to their cage, then seemed to ignore it for a few months. Then they started going in and making the nest bowl.

Friday 10 July 2015 – Jo Jo put a foot on Num’s back

Saturday 11 July 2015 – Jo Jo put a foot on Num’s back again

Sunday 12 July 2015 – Jo Jo put two feet on Num’s back

Tuesday 14 July 2015 – They mated at 2 pm! And later in the day

Thursday 16 July 2015 – They mated at 7:45 am and 4:30 pm

Friday 17 July 2015 – Before 2 pm. FIRST EGG! Both started incubating immediately

Sunday 19 July 2015 – By 4 pm. SECOND EGG!

Tuesday 21 July 2015 – Middle of the day. THIRD EGG!

Thursday 23 July 2015 – Middle of the day. FOURTH EGG!

… and that was all; a clutch of 4. The chicks will take 18-21 days to hatch, if the eggs are viable.

Friday 7 August 2015 – Day 0 – here are the 4 eggs. I didn’t get a chance to photograph them as they were laid because Num and Jo Jo sat on them all the time. I’m worried that they are unviable because today is 21 days for the first egg. Fingers crossed

IMG_1693 small

Saturday 8 August 2015 – Day 1 – a chick hatched before 7 am, 22 days after the first egg was laid. We are thrilled and so are Num and Jo Jo. The chick has quite a lot of bright yellow down

IMG_1714 crop

Sunday 9 August 2015 – Day 2 – Baby is noticeably stronger and can hold its head up for a little while. Both parents are feeding it. It can’t see yet

IMG_1717 crop

Monday 10 August 2015 – Day 3 – Baby is doing well. Terrible photo because it’s a dark day

IMG_1732 crop

Tuesday 11 August 2015 – Day 4 – No photo – parents didn’t come out together all day

Wednesday 12 August 2015 – Day 5 – Baby is being very well fed and has a huge crop. It’s growing quickly. It has cute little wings

IMG_1744 crop

IMG_1747 small

Thursday 13 August 2015 – Day 6 – Baby is growing stronger

IMG_1777 crop

Friday 14 August 2015 – Day 7 – Baby is so much bigger. The crop is scary-huge. I can’t believe it’s been a week. It doesn’t look as if the other eggs are viable

P1290085 crop

Saturday 15 August 2015 – Day 8 – Baby is doing well. Jo Jo is really pulling his weight. Num Num seems to sit in the box on Baby at night and Jo Jo sleeps on the top perch, then he takes a long shift in the morning

IMG_1799 crop

IMG_1805 crop

Sunday 16 August 2015 – Day 9 – I’ve just realised that Baby is going to have grey wings like Num (mum). Jo Jo is completely yellow. I think I can see pink pin feathers on the ends of the wings.

IMG_1808 crop

Monday 17 August 2015 – Day 10 – I can see a teeny yellow crest!  I can definitely see cream and grey pin feathers on the the wings. I think the eyes are starting to open.

P1290109 crop

P1290101 crop

Tuesday 18 August 2015 – Day 11 – Baby has a splendid yellow crest. The pin feathers have grown longer and there are more rows of them.

P1290120 crop

Wednesday 19 August 2015 – Day 12 – just look at Baby’s crest! It’s bright gold. I can see that there is grey on the upper back as well. I can just see the spiky pin feathers on the tail. The eyes are well open now. Baby is so big it has to lie beside Jo Jo

P1290165 crop

P1290168 crop

P1290154 crop

Thursday 20 August 2015 – Day 13 – Crest is more obvious, pin feathers on wings are longer and have more than one colour on them. There are pin feathers across the upper back and tiny ones under the chin. Baby is walking around a bit, but finding it difficult because it has such a big belly.

P1290184 crop

Friday 21 August 2015 – Day 14 – There are pin feathers all over now, including the sides of the face. The crest has a nice peak.

P1290207 crop

P1290213 crop

Saturday 22 August 2015 – Day 15 – Pin feathers are longer, Baby is taller

P1290236 crop

Sunday 23 August 2015 – Day 16 – We’ve removed the aspen shavings so Baby doesn’t eat them. He’s walking around much more. The white feathers at the ends of the wings are starting to unfurl. We can hold Baby – he’s so warm. This evening we removed the eggs. It’s 10 days past the 21 days for the last egg.

P1290247 crop

P1290254 crop

Monday 24 August 2015 – Day 17 – It looks as if Baby’s grey is going to be charcoal, not soft grey like Num’s. Charcoal wing feathers are starting to unfurl and I think I can see the orange cheek! We’re starting to hold Baby. I tried to get a sharp photo, but I still won’t use flash.

P1290266 crop

P1290273 crop

P1290277 crop

IMG_8702 small

Tuesday 25 August 2015 – Day 18 – Baby sometimes hisses and puts wings out when I open the box, but doesn’t mind being held. Num and Jo Jo don’t seem to mind us holding baby either. More wing feathers are unfurling. It looks as if Baby will have light and dark grey in the wings.  I think Num is removing the waxy coatings so the feathers can unfurl. Baby is standing up more; the belly and crop don’t look as big now.

P1290288 crop


Here are Mum -Birdie Num Num aka Num – and Dad – Jo Jo. Num is a pied with soft grey wings with white edges and a grey barred tail. Jo Jo is a lutino and is pure lemon with no grey. Interesting to see all the charcoal grey appear on Baby! Neither parent has grey on the face.

IMG_3145 small

Wednesday 26 August 2015 – Day 19 – Baby is enjoying looking out the window now. Num is still preening the pin feathers. More feathers are unfurling, towards the front of the wings and on the tail, which is getting longer. The wings are really long when stretched out.

P1290318 crop

P1290320 crop

P1290330 crop

Thursday 27 August 2015 – Day 20 – Baby’s feathers are unfurling nicely. She seems to have a lemon wash through the white on her wings. We’ve decided to call her ‘she’ because we saw one banded feather in her tail (wild type females have bands on their tail feathers). Her tail has lemon feathers in the centre (the future long ones) and charcoal feathers on each side of them.

P1290344 crop

Friday 28 August 2015 – Day 21 – More and more feathers are unfurling, on the upper back, chest and crest. She can raise her crest and is stretching her wings out. She has some little stripey feathers near her legs too.

P1290347 crop

Saturday 29 August 2015 – Day 22 – Meet Tina Sparkles! More of the feathers on her upper back have unfurled and her tail is longer. Her crest feathers are unfurling and her crest is taller. The yellow and white feathers under her chin and on her upper breast are unfurling.

P1290351 crop

P1290354 crop

Sunday 30 August 2015 – Day 23 – Sparkles has a lot more feathers now, but Num sometimes tugs them out roughly. Sparkles has some stripy feathers at the tops of her legs and a yellow collar and grey breast.She can grip around a finger, although she’s slow to change legs. She’s starting to walk a bit more. She flaps her wings really quickly sometimes.

P1290359 small

P1290367 small

P1290369 small

Monday 31 August 2015 – Day 24 – Sparkles looks like a real cockatiel now! Her crest is fluffy, most of her feathers are unfurled and she is just exquisite. Her legs are getting stronger and she is practising flapping her wings and nibbling on things.

P1290382 crop

Tuesday 1 September 2015 – Day 25 – Sparkles looks as if she’s close in size to her parents – her head and body – but her tail is much shorter. She’s flapping her wings a lot and I keep finding the ladder knocked down in the box. Tonight when she was out Num and Jo Jo looked as if they were calling her to fly. They kept doing short flights, mostly together, from the lounge to the cage and they were talking to her and she was talking to them. It was like the galahs but the urgency isn’t there yet. Num and Jo Jo mated yesterday and today – Spring is here!

P1290393 crop

Wednesday 2 September 2015 – Day 26 – I walked out into the lounge room to check on Sparkles and she had climbed up to the entrance hole! While I was holding her she flapped her wings like crazy and made a nice cool breeze. Num and Jo Jo mated 3 or 4 times today and Num looked like she was trying to make a nest bowl. She was pulling at the paper towel in the nest box.

P1290396 crop

Thursday 3 September 2015 – Day 27 – I decided to take a photo of Sparkles in her box because she’ll soon leave it forever. Her wings are long, although her tail isn’t yet. She is gripping better with her feet.

P1290410 crop

Friday 4 September 2015 – Day 28 – Sparkles has started investigating things with her beak and tongue so I gave her some millet. She seemed to know how to eat straight away. I gave her some fresh grass seeds too. Sparkles balance has improved. she perches well on my finger. Num and Jo Jo are continuing to mate and arrange the paper in the box.

P1290422 crop

P1290427 crop

Saturday 5 September 2015 – Day 29 – Sparkles spent her first night out of the box in the cage with her parents last night! She did a few short flights yesterday and today. The day before she slipped off the box and fluttered to the floor. She loves perching on our fingers.

P1290441 crop

Thank you for your interest in Sparkles. From now on, I’ll just post an occasional photo, as Sparkles won’t change in appearance.

Tuesday 8 September 2015 – Num just laid an egg!!!!!!!!

Galahs 2013

Each year we hope galahs will breed in one of the nesting boxes in our backyard.
When they do, we love to watch each baby grow bigger and stronger. Nothing compares to the thrill of seeing a baby parrot leap out of the nesting box for the first time and fly away with its parents.

This Nesting Box Diary, Galahs 2013, describes the first three months in the lives of Neil, Buzz and Svetlana.

2013 Galahs cover_1160x1551

Galahs 2013

Dull day, spectacular birds

Having missed yesterday’s dawn due to family commitments, I was keen to get out this morning. The forecast was good – sunny and 33oC. I set my alarm for 6:15 am and was at my favourite spot before the sun rose.

The sky did not look the way I had hoped. It was streaked with cloud, which became thicker and thicker. Soon the entire sky was white, but dull.

The poor conditions did not stop the birds. I saw several White-bellied Sea-Eagles, some Whistling Kites and a Swamp Harrier in the first half hour. I saw a falcon, which I could not identify, then later an Australian Hobby (a Little Falcon), which I could. I added to my list two Black Kites, all in all 5 species of BOP (possibly 6).

I had resigned myself to getting no good photos and was thinking about leaving when the most amazing thing happened – 5 juvenile and immature White-bellied Sea-Eagles flew right past me! I thought I got photos of each, but I can only tell 4 distinct birds. Here they are in the order I took the photos:

WBSE 1 – immature (white tail)

IMG_1779 small

WBSE 2 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)

IMG_1785 small

WBSE 3 – immature (white tail)

IMG_1794 small

WBSE 4 – juvenile (tail has brown tip)

IMG_1799 small

They were just magnificent in a group. Shortly after that, two Black Kites and a Whistling Kite flew in circles around me. All  these photos have only a small amount of cropping – the birds were really that close!

Black Kite

IMG_1825 small

Whistling Kite

IMG_1836 small

Although my photos were taken at ISO 3200, and are lacking in detail, like pencil drawings that have been smudged, the experience was incredible. I’ll still be watching birds of prey when I’m too old and frail to lift my camera.