By Susie Christian,  Morro Bay, CA.

Bonded Pair
Breeding Pair

Breeding pair of Galahs with their Eucalyptus nest box in the background.  Hen on the left and male on the right.

Waiting for eggs

It is always fun to look for signs the Galahs are getting ready to lay eggs.  Most of my pairs will be down on the floor of the flights, rearranging the sand and actually eating the sand.  I bring in buckets of new sand from the ocean dunes here (not from the immediate beach but further back) but river sand will do nicely too.  I always go away from any paths where people or animals walk, and I try to get the sand after a rain, figuring it is cleaner this way.  Galah activity of playing in and eating the sand seems to go on just previous to laying. 

I also place a large rock or two in the middle of the flight.  I find one bird will play in the sand, whilst the other stands on the rock, probably keeping watch.  Every pair I have use their rock happily, even if it just to sun themselves.

Most of the year my pairs of Galahs are very quiet, but during the first part of January they become louder.  Eggs are usually laid in the morning hours between 8 and 11 AM, and there is always a racket that ensues on the egg-laying days.  I haven’t figured if they holler before, during or after the egg is laid, but on a morning of noise from a particular pair, I can almost guarantee there will be an egg present if I look in the nest.

Of course there are the eggs that get laid in the wrong places, and these misguided eggs always seem to happen – even with the best, most accurate pairs.  The beauty of having a nice thick layer of sand on the flight floors, is that most of the time if an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, it doesn’t break, or it might sustain a repairable hairline crack.  I have several pairs who “miss” every so often, and for those pairs, I haul in extra Eucalyptus leaves to act as a cushion.  A person can also lay a large, thick towel or blanket on the ground to cushion the part of the flight where the female is known to drop her eggs.  And of course it helps as a birdkeeper  to not have a job and be home all day long, to catch any shenanigans they might be up to.

1. Inspection door of eucalyptus log nest.
2. Before the Eucalyptus is put inside. 
3. I add about six to eight inches of Eucalyptus leaves to get them started.
4. How the nest box inspection door plug looks.
5. Putting the door back in the box.
6. Door gets screwed in to prevent the birds from pushing it out.

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Photography by Susie Christian© 2010
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Last Updated July 6, 2010, by Bear Canyon Productions