As Summer slowly winds it’s inevitable path towards Autumn, we’ve had quite a range of weather in the last few months, from wet and miserable to hot and humid (also miserable). We’ve tried to make plans for a short camping trip, but each time when we are able to take the time, the weather has turned for the worse, almost mocking us. But what this weather has appeared to do, is bring out all manner and numbers of birdlife into our backyard. There was even a Whipbird in the garden that unfortunately I wasn’t able to photograph (these birds move like the Road Runner), though I did manage to catch a Butcherbird that was also a new arrival.
Over the last few days, it’s as if an aviary has been opened and a mass of birds has been released, with word going around that there’s free food available at our place (which there is). The usual Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots are there, but the Crimson Rosellas have been in particularly large numbers lately and becoming increasingly confident and coming close, even with our hounds about. The Crimson Rosellas are constantly on the move, rarely sharing a food bowl with another and so a pecking order appears to be in place giving some precedence while others wait patiently, though an occasional fracas does ensue.
The King Parrots still dominate the pecking order and when they want the food bowl, all others must yield. They too have their moments when one or the other doesn’t want to share, even though there is plenty of room for at least two. As I mentioned, the King Parrots have been in lesser numbers and I’m quite content with that. They are an attractive bird, but usually best appreciated in small numbers.
We’ve had the odd Galah venture into the yard as well, which is ‘odd’ in that they generally tend to congregate in numbers. Anyway, this one was fairly shy, which Galahs usually are, but eventually plucked up enough courage to come quite close to us, after being initially harassed by the other birds. Eventually it made it’s way to one of the feeders and even decided to share the feeder with some Crimson Rosellas, but not without some initial contention.
And when things quieten down, one of our Magpies is usually ready to take advantage and get some tucker as well. We actually have a family of four about and usually they come in pairs to the feeder. There’s just one bird that I haven’t been able to place and I think that it’s a Rosella of some sort, but no amount of searching comes up with this particular bird. The fully green colours and black beak, has me stumped, but information from Birds In Backyards indicates that it’s likely a King Parrot.
While the weather and food lasts, I think we’ll keep seeing these characters each evening before dusk. I often wish that they came a little earlier, when the light is much better, but I guess that would be asking for too much. It’s good to be able to enjoy these things, especially when I remember that the most common birds I used to see in the city were Sparrows, Indian Myna and Crows. Not that I’m crowing about our bounty.
And just a few more.
Update 1. Well, I managed to get a very average photo of our Whipbird. It scarpers about our front yard, giving its traditional call and taunting me constantly. It’s not like the Whipbird appears to be afraid of me, but it’s just the fact that it’s hyperactive, barely ever standing still. And, as the Whipbird prefers denser scrub, it’s not easy to photograph.
Update 2. I thought I’d add this update, as it confirms what I’ve believed for some time and which was an issue of debate on a certain bird forum that I left, after being repeatedly berated for feeding our backyard birds. It’s another piece of evidence that feeding birds is a good thing, if done properly.
Professor Darryl Jones is an urban ecology expert and a bird feeder. That combination is incredibly unusual in Australia.
“The predominant advice is generally to avoid feeding birds,” Professor Jones said.
“But, since I started investigating this, I’ve turned my views completely around.”
More than that, Professor Jones has now become an activist for the cause of feeding.
“As long as you are keeping your feeder clean, you’re not feeding too much and you’re feeding healthy foods, there is nothing to do but enjoy yourself,” he said.