Recently, a heavily pregnant Common Lime Butterfly (Papilio demoleus malayanus) mommy checked into My Nice Garden Maternity Centre and laid eggs on my citrus lime (limau kasturi) plant. Soon, the eggs hatched into baby caterpillars that looked like blackish bird droppings on the leaves. These caterpillars ate a lot 24/7 and when their skin changed to a paler shade of green, I transferred them to my 'baby incubator room'. They were on a strictly vegetarian diet. After they had eaten enough of greens, they fell asleep for a week or so.
A few days ago, I was overjoyed to see this beautiful adult butterfly flapping its wings and knocking on the plastic walls of its enclosure. I knew that it was time to say goodbye. But then I thought we had only just met? So I held the box close to me because I wanted to prolong this brief moment of joy. It was a nice feeling with this butterfly so close by, flitting and moving and so full of life. Then it was time to let go and as I opened the lid, it flew out and was gone, happy to be free.
This is my first Lime Butterfly born in captivity! Yay!
Next comes the story about this little bird mom who checked into MNG birthing centre. On 20th February 2012, I noticed something weird on my hybrangea plant. It was a pouch weaved into 2 hydrangea leaves. The pouch was rather small but I knew it was a bird's nest.
Last year in May 2011, I wrote a post, "Help! There's a bird's nest on my hydrangea plant!". The bird had laid 3 eggs on the nest but later abandoned it, so it was a sad ending. I still remember my friend Andrea's advice not to look into the nest, so this time I was very very well behaved!
I never peeked into the nest. Initially, a few birds came and they tweeted loudly as though having a family meeting. Then the other members left leaving behind only the mommy bird and all was quiet.
Soon, I heard many tweets; to and fro and to and fro... early in the morning and later in the afternoon. I saw Mommy Bird coming back and going out many times and each time she came back, there was something in her mouth.. Sometimes, I have a feeling that there are 2 adult birds in the vicinity but I'm not sure if Daddy Bird was around.
This went on for about a week or so, until I got so used to them tweeting back and forth at certain times of the day I became their ardent follower and began to look forward to their tweets!
“A Lime Butterfly And Bird Was Born In My Nice Garden”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on March 8th, 2012.
This is an enlarged photo of the bird on my hibiscus plant. This bird is very small in size, i.e. smaller than my hibiscus leaves. It has a long curved-down beak, olive green to dark brown back but creamy beige in front. The feet are pinkish. I think there is a little red patch on the front of its head.
Her nest on my hydrangea plant is just next to my side door which is a sliding door made of glass so I can see all the activity from inside my living room. But I had to keep my distance and remain still while observing their antics.
She seems to have an insect or spider in her mouth, not a worm. She is now standing on my Japanese Honeysucker.
On 27th February 2012, I saw this nestling on my Mas Cotek, a native plant. The cutey baby seemed to be without a tail. I thought it looked like a little chick. It had fallen down during flying practise. Earlier she hid under my pandan bush while tweeting loudly for Mommy Bird.
Baby bird only came out after mommy bird found her and tweeted back. After a short while, both of them flew off. That was the last time I saw them (mom and child).
There were no more tweets and everything was back to normal again. I guess they had checked out.
It puzzles me that such a fragile looking structure can support a bird's safe delivery and nesting stage. It was rainy season and this nest survived a few heavy downpours and 2 thunderstorms. At least Mommy Bird was smart to build its nest in the partially sheltered area of my verandah.
This is the souvenir they left behind. I'm sure the abode is only big enough for one baby bird. I wonder where did Mommy Bird go to during the night?
Updated on 10th March 2012
This bird is most likely a Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius). It looks exactly like the picture in wikipedia and the descriptions matched. My grateful thanks to Mom on Blog, Dr. Rezlan (Tabib) and Star Leaf for helping me with the ID. For your viewing convenience, I have inserted the picture from Wikipedia:
Male tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius. Photograph by Vijay Cavale. vijay AT indiabirds.com.
The above picture is taken from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.
Notes about this bird:
Scientific name: Orthomus sutorius
Family: Sylviidae (warblers and babblers)
Common name: Common Tailorbird, Long-tailed Tailorbird
Malay name: Laki Padi / Perenjak Pisang
Distribution: forest edges, scrub and cultivated areas such as parks and gardens, also in open country but never deep in the forest.
- Male and female looks alike except for tail; male with long tail up to 3cm and female with short tail.
- Size about 12cm. Upper body - olive, under - creamy white, long beak, long legs, long tail, thighs are rufous (russet or reddish brown colour)
- Birds are not scared of humans, hence you can see them in urban areas, even balconies of highrises
- Restless and always on the move making short, darting flights.
- Feed on insects, small fruits and a bit of nectar
- Tiny bird with a loud cry of ce-wit, ce-wit, ce-wit. Usually heard rather than seen.
- Breeding season is from Jan, peak in Feb and Mar and may continue until June.
- Nests are usually low, about 1m above ground. The nest is usually woven or sewn on fairly large leaves. In the forest, it is usually the Simpoh Air Tree (Dillenia suffruticosa)
- 2-5 pastel blue eggs with brown speckles. Only female incubate but both help to raise the young
- This species is not found in Sabah or Sarawak (East Malaysia). The nestling will fledge in 24 days.