Wags in the Jacaranda

Therese Ralston
5 min readFeb 8, 2023

Two babes jumped along the branches of my favorite tree, a massive Jacaranda next to the house.

The 20-year-old tree is high and wide and shady. Whenever I feel sad I look up through the lacy leaves or stomp all over the carpet of purple tubes decorating the grass.

Two vigilant Willie Wagtail parents chose a tree protected by a hundred branches. A network of delicate green leaves and flower tubes shaded the nest so the eggs didn’t cook in a harsh Australian summer. The filtered light meant eagles and raptors couldn’t spot it from above. Eggs are a monitor’s favorite food; they climb trees as easily as we walk. With 2-metre-long adult lizards, a 12 cm bird or 5cm long chick doesn’t stand a chance.

These fantails have done a super job of bringing 2 nestlings to the fledging stage. You can never underestimate the awesome strength of a mated pair. They would pretend to be hurt to drag my eyes away or fly over my head so close I could hear their wings, attacking like a squadron of fighter jets.

Wagtails go to supreme lengths to protect their young. This included dive-bombing every other bird within a 10-metre radius. Even if the bird is a resident peacock 200 times its size, or a human, like me.

Three months ago, I cleaned my hairbrush outside and saw a Wagtail picking up the strands, carrying them off to a nest.

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Therese Ralston

Writing about the real life, farm life, reading life, birdlife, wildlife, pet life and school life I have in my life. My blog: birdlifesaving.blogspot.com