Artist Marjolein Bastin
Subject Location Netherlands
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Last year this nest, located quite high on a ledge in an open barn, was occupied by the Black Redstart. I have to look twice, I can’t quite believe it, but this year the same nest is occupied by a Common Redstart!!
It is so dark in the barn that I can only see the young when they open their yellow beaks in anticipation of a tasty insect, larva, or caterpillar that one of the parents brings to the nest. When they have finished feeding the parents wait a little while until one of the youngsters sticks its behind in the air. This allows the adult to remove the “dirty diaper” from the nest and keep it clean.
After a week or two in the fledglings leave the nest. Shortly thereafter I discover the whole family hiding in the rhododendrons, the young birds already quivering their tails characteristically.
The parents continue to feed the fledglings for another week, and then they can take care of themselves. Perched on a post or a branch they will examine the ground for small critters or scan the air around them for insects. A quick dive…gotcha. And then back to the post.