Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Lime Butterfly And A Bird Was Born in My Nice Garden

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 @ 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
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.


  1. Mummy and baby bird looks so sweet! And the butterfly too :)

  2. This was a lovely post. I am looking forward to watching the wildlife more and more as the temperatures warm up and spring begins. It is such a joy. I think it is amazing how they make their nests...glad you got some photos.

  3. What a heartwarming post, so beautifully captured in pictures and prose. That's why I love your blog and envy your experiences. Also, you are just so like me. I would so have hatch those caterpillars in "baby incubator room' to watch them evolve (done that!) and bid a tearful goodbye to the butterfly :( Did you name it????

    Ha, ha... I learn early on not to peep into the nest but like you I will find a spot to watch it safely. I think the bird is a Common Tailorbird because of it coloring and nest structure. My dad was big into birds and fishes (and plants). Now I am hoping some bird will make a nest in my hydrangea plant!

  4. Czytałam i oglądałam Twoje zdjęcia z zapartym tchem. To cudowne dałaś życie motylowi i nie zrobiłaś niechcącej krzywdy gniazdu ptaka. Nie dotykałaś go, tylko obserwowałaś i zobaczyłaś nowe życie. Cudowne , dziękuję i pozdrawiam. *** I have been reading and watching your photos with bated breath. It's a wonderful life you gave butterfly and did not harm niechcącej bird nest. Not dotykałaś him, but were you looking, and you saw a new life. Wonderful, thank you and best regards.

  5. Congratulations my friend, you are already a certified wildlife friend! I observed in our property in the province that birds also know the people who are kind to them and wildlife, just like dogs who don't bark on us, because we care for them.

    I am laughing at the way you wrote this post, this i think is one of my favorites among your posts, because it is so near the heart and comforting. Our lime (dayap) is always hosting the nest of another small bird, maybe its a sunbird? (long curved beak). For 4 consecutive years they are returning there, but used the old nest 2x. The nest is just like hanging garbage, but their noise announced their presence. However, i haven't seen that bird in our property. That butterfly we have plenty after the first rains in May-June. Last weekend i saw many larvae on a citrus seedlings, but not sure if it's that one or the red swallowtail.

    I envy you for staying at home, so you can experiment on this little creatures, which i always love to do but still can't while i am still working in the city.

  6. Adorable! Who knew you were operating a birthing center! ;) Love the little bird! Maybe the bird and the butterfly will both return again to have their babies!

  7. Really cute visitors. Lovely post ;)

  8. The mothers obviously recognise that MNG is a safe friendly place for them and their babies. You have captured some great photos of both. Thank you for sharing them with us.
    That bird's nest is amazing.

  9. What a sweet ending!
    You're such kind soul! Now I feel so guilty as I always hand pick the caterpillars and throw them away in near by bushes....

  10. Malar, I used to do that too and I feel very guilty each time, so now I do understand how you feel. It has always been in my mind to find a solution, so I bought an insect container for RM 5 bucks from Daisho and learn how to raise butterflies from the caterpillars I harvest from my citrus plants. In this way, there is minimal damage to the plants and I can protect them from being eaten by birds, frogs and lizards?

  11. Dear friends, thank you very much for attending my newborn party!

    I am still not sure about the bird name.

    a) A commenter, Nadine in my last year's post about a similar bird nest, suggested that it could be a flowerpecker

    b) I have done some research on the bird's habits. I think it might look like the Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra). The eggs, adult bird appearance look like a photo on the following website by Dr. Rezlan:

    c) Mom on Blog who commented here and Star Leaf in my facebook page suggested the Common Tailorbird.

    Meanwhile, I'm so sorry that I have to keep you (and myself) in suspense now while I check things out. Too bad, I couldn't get a clearer picture with my present camera.

  12. Nothing short of spectacular! What a wonderful post and lovely photos! I'm amazed at this petite little crafty! Congratulations on both births, and to their respective mommys.

  13. Wow, I think this is the first time I see a bird nest built out of two leaves. Its amazing how these birds are constantly busy and putting in so much effort to make a comfortable home for their youngs. Too bad that they didn't hang around longer but perhaps they will come back again.

    Ben (Gardening Pleasures)

  14. Aaron, yeah, it is nice to hear birds chirping in the garden. These are the happy sounds of nature.

    Ben, I guess they left after Baby Bird could fly properly to another place to roost with the other members of the brood. Maybe it is too fat to fit into the nest now, haha :)

  15. It's so amazing how some birds build a nest for their brood, just like the one in your garden, stitching two leaves together to create a pouch. You should be proud that your garden is a very successful maternity ward for your fragile garden friends.

  16. How wonderful to see the mother and the baby! Both so very cute. Butterflies and birds ... I'm glad I came to visit.

  17. How wonderful to experience the birth of new wildlife!
    So exciting to be so close.
    That's a neat little nest.

  18. What lovely stories. They touched my heart. Birds seem to be very inventive when it comes to nest building. I enjoyed the photos.

  19. Congratulation! have documented a "Tukang Jahit" , Common Tailor Bird (Orthotomus sutorius)at your backyard.

  20. Awesome experience! Thanks for sharing

  21. have the prettiest visitors. I'm motivated to do something about my little garden ♥

  22. Congratulations... your garden is perhaps like a paradise for the birds...

  23. So lovely and gentle creatures...I only get to hear birds chirping in my garden. Whenever I try to take a shot of them, they fly away... :-)

  24. I think Mama Bird did a great job on choosing a good site to build her nest! I really enjoyed this post. Congratulations also on the beautiful butterfly!

  25. beautiful post- how amazing the nest is, with the seam of the two leaves sewn up so neatly. nature is so astonishing!

  26. A tailor bird has laid 3 eggs in the leaves woven and the mom and dad of the eggs are not to be seen when do they come to their nest during the day or night please let me know

    1. Robert, I can hear their very loud twits. Sometimes, I do see the mom or dad dash in and out when I pass by. It's usually early morning of evening.


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