Our baby Willy Wagtails

We have recently had the pleasure of watching a pair of willy wagtails raise three chicks in our front yard. Here is their story…

Oct 14
I had noticed willy wagtails collecting cobwebs and threads from around the garden. Then I discovered why; they were building a nest on a rafter on our front veranda. They are such bright sparkling birds to watch around the place.

The nest

The nest

Oct 17
Three days later there were three eggs in the nest.

Three eggs

Three eggs

Oct 29
We have babies… Three babies hatched today.

Newly hatched babies (day olds)

Newly hatched babies (day olds)

Nov 7
The babies are now nine days old and feathering up quite well. They are also filling that nest. For the last couple of days they have been talking (or shouting “Pick me”) whenever the parents come with some food. It is a never ending job feeding them, the parents turn up roughly every minute with something.

Pick me

Pick me

Thank you

Thank you

Nov 8
Day Ten. What a difference a day makes! Not so squeezy…

It's tight in here

It’s tight in here

Nov 10
I came home from work this afternoon to find one chick in the nest, one outside the nest and one in a nearby garden. It is only twelve days since they hatched.
I really didn’t think they were ready for the outside world yet so when the one in the garden came back to below the nest, I popped him back up on the rafter. He quickly scurried back in with his siblings. Too many cats roam around here for him to be safe on the ground overnight.
Mum and dad were dive bombing me and swearing at me while I took these photos.

Two still at home

Two still at home

One gone wandering

One gone wandering

Nov 12
Day Fourteen and the baby Willy Wagtails have all left the nest. The first one spent last night in a nearby tree and tonight all three are in our Flowering Ash tree. They can fly but are still on their ‘L’ plates. They are safe from cats there but we had a tree snake around today so I’m not sure how safe they are from it.

Left the nest

Left the nest

This morning the whole family were still here but they are disappeared later on. Our neighbour mentioned that the magpies she feeds were being harassed by a couple of willy wagtails so maybe ours just moved next door. It will be fun looking out for them and hopefully next year a brand new family will be raised.

11 thoughts on “Our baby Willy Wagtails

  1. Mandy

    Thankyou for sharing,
    I was wondering how long it takes them. The nest seems so small n I was so worried for them last night as it was raining. I can’t wait to see more of them.

    Reply
  2. Julia Stoneham

    We have a balcony high above the River Dart. Lots of ivy, creepers and pots of plants. This winter, after ten years, we have Willy Wagtail who eats small flies off the window panes and pulvarised Kellogs Corn flakes. We want to encourage him . Any suggestions? We also befriend herring gulls and jackdaws but the Waggy is the only small bid that comes up to our fourth floor balconies.. Julia. Totnes.

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Hi Julia, I don't have any suggestions other than providing an environment that the birds like. We don't do anything other than having heaps of trees and shrubs around and we tend not to spray insects so there is a food source available to the birds. It's great having the wildlife around!

      Reply
  3. Ellie

    Just today we noticed that there are 3 baby willy wagtails in our backyard. Although tonight when i went outside i noticed them all sitting alone on our clothes line with the mother or father no where in sight. What should i do? Do you have any advice?

    Cheers, Ellie

    Reply
  4. Vanessa Franco

    Our baby Willy Wagtails, we noticed a nest in front of our alfresco a d we were so excited about it, we didn’t want to disturb them so they can be relax, we reduce the used of that door so they won’t run away.

    One they when they weren’t around we look at it and was three eggs in the nest, after a couple of weeks we made a video and only two eggs hatched, on Monday 26/10 they were not fully feathered and by Friday 30/10 they gone. We were worried that a cat, big bird or my dog ate them because it has been just 5 days gap to be ready to fly out and we didn’t see them fully feathered and calling their parent. It is possible that the parents removed them from that nest to a safer place? We looked around the garden and we couldn’t see any signs that they have been ate. We are really worried and concerned about what happened to the babies. Tha parents are still around talking each other.

    Reply
  5. robert morris

    We too have just witnessed a Wagtail pair bring three chicks into the world in our garden. They nested on a wire between our home and garage, just under the eaves for shelter. We have been surprised at how quickly they have progressed. From egg to flight has been less than a month. The first and second chicks left the nest on consecutive days, while the last of the three chicks is sitting up in the nest, a little apprehensive about heading into the unknown. I would guess tomorrow will be the day it leaves though. The only negatives we've found with them nesting close to the house is the constant swooping by the male adult, and the poops we will need to clean from our concrete paths when they leave. It's been a very enlightening month, and we have quite a few good photos and videos of their progress.

    Reply
  6. Sue

    My willy wagtails make a nest on my Hills Hoist . 2 eggs hatched a couple of days before Christmas about 22/12/20. Today 30/12/20 the nest was empty. The 2 babies had feathers but really didn’t think they would go so soon. Hope they are ok.

    Reply

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