I was making some photos in the ‘Belian Garden’ (medicinal plants) at the Kebun Raya Balikpapan (Balikpapan Botanical Gardens), when one of my workmates beckoned me over to show a perfect little bird’s nest hidden inside one of the bushes. “Anak burung, Pak John!” The two tiny little featherless things hadn’t even opened their eyes.
He said the parents were out getting food, and sure enough, in a nearby tree was a ‘Karuang‘ (Sooty-headed bulbul, Pycnonotus aurigaster), with some tasty morsel in its beak, anxiously waiting for us to go away from the imperfectly-hidden nest.
I checked on the chicks’ development over the next week, and it was amazing how quickly they transformed into something more recognisably birdlike. But, two days ago, the nest was empty. No sign of any violence (e.g. from a cat), but surely they weren’t big enough to fly independently, so I fear the worst for them….