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The nurserymans little bird friend. Spotted Pardalote . Pardalotus punctatus


These little "poor mans Bellbirds" are one of my favorites at the nursery.

Why Poor mans Bellbird  Bell bird  well have a listen.     Graeme Chapman website


Many of you will know that these birds nest underground in little burrows with a grassy soft ball at the end of the tunnel.

The problem is that they tend to nest in mid summer where the ground is as hard as cement.

So they ALWAYS seem to nest in our large piles of soft moist potting mix.

Most nurseries have potting mix pits that large commercial trucks dump the massive volumes of soil need to maintain a large nursery.

This soft pile of damp soil or mix is irrisistable to nesting pardalotes!

So every year they burrow into the pits to build nests.

No one has the heart to disturb them, so work carries on around the nest trying our hardest not to disturb and colllapse their burrows.

This year to our horror, they chose the 10mm orchid mix pit. Why the issue, because to 10mm granules constantly collapse on the tunnels as its quite coarse.

They tried for weeks while we worked within 10 feet of their attepts,the little tunnels contantly collapsing and running down the front of the pits in mini landslides.

Eventually i decided to get a shovel and revove their tunnel attempts as we needed the mix and I thought nothing was being accheived.

AS I removed their tiny 10cm tunnel attempt, to help them decide to move on, a fully complete nest with 6 chicks tumbled out.


I really love these Pardalotes,and only wanted to help, so I felt like a real idiot.

The dear little parents chittered and flapped around me  as the chicks tumbled down the hill.

We quickly gathered them up with a potting scoop and tried to re bury the nest.

But the compost just kept falling away. So we added some bamboo canes to hold the nest upright.

The parent quickly returned and started feeding the chicks straight away.

The staff forgave me and for three days all was good with the parents visiting every 15 minutes.

But today all was lost, a cat or fox found the nest overnight.

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  • clem thompson on

    I have never seen a pardalote before this summer and have been observing the parents going in and out of their tunnel nest with some pleasing pictures to boot at Wilson Botanical Park Berwick Vic hoping to catch the time when the chicks come out .( this being the spotted variety.)

  • Ian on

    A domestic tragedy, for the Pardalotes and for you. I know well your pain, in my nursery in the Upper Yarra, I would have Pardalotes trying to nest in the heap of potting mix on the potting bench – while I was working there within a metre of their excavations. My arm or head were good stopping points as they approached their work. They are a very bold, and very beautiful, little bird.

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