By the end of October, we set up the camera to capture the hard work of the two beautiful bee-eaters. Perched on their favourite branch or on the rooftop antennae, they flew with top speed to catch their prey, so much like fighter planes doing fast manoeuvres. Then with a prey in its beak would start chirping and whacking the poor insect to bits. Again like a fighter plane, they’d swoop down, hovering over the hole (constantly chirping) and entering to feed their babies. This went on for the whole month of November. Sometimes, they were really busy, catching insects, whacking and feeding. And in some days there would be no activity for long intervals — and then a token feed. This certainly did not go unnoticed by other birds in the area. One time, a kookaburra stood in front of the hole for a long while and one of the bee-eaters dive-bombed to chase the bully away! Oh what drama.
The bee-eaters’ chirping was distinct and when we heard it, we knew one of them would enter the hole with food. A variety of insects were on the daily menu — there would be butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies but mostly bees!
Rainbow bee-eater mum with a freshly caught bee, ready to feed her chicks.
Then on Wednesday the 5th of December, we were again chatting with Kelvin, telling him what amazing parents the bee-eaters were. Towards the end of November, we observed how the feeding got quicker and really frequent and the hole in the sand was getting bigger as well. We felt it in our gut the chicks would soon fly the coop. By the 1st of December, the feeding got less frequent but the calling more urgent and often, like the parents saying, “you want to eat, you have to come out and get it!” Then Kelvin and I looked up, as we heard the chirping get louder and louder. What we saw fly in were not two bee-eaters, but four!!! The chicks were flying and their parents were showing them the ways of their world!