Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wild birds

Having a built in ‘outdoor-not-enclosed-aviary’ in my back yard has given me hours of watching pleasure over the past few years and I had determined that I wasn’t going to be boring and blog about them but I can’t resist. I seem to learn something new each time these little birds visit and these small creatures amaze me at times. Sydney is well known for having masses of parrots of different kinds which inhabit anywhere there are areas of bush or large trees. Because we are right on the edge of a treed neighbourhood, they have not come here in large numbers however we do have a few Lorikeets who turn up for water or bread when the weather is very hot and food is scarce. Last summer we had about a dozen who came almost every day to share the bread scraps I threw out and to cool down in the water I left out for them.

Once autumn made an appearance the visits of the main bunch got less, but two persisted and became quite tame, perching themselves up on the shade sail and peering down, chirping and calling, even coming right up to the kitchen window to let us know they were ‘waiting’ on their handout.

These two have continued to come right through the winter – I presumed they had nested somewhere close by. One day they brought their babies to feed on the bread and honey I’d placed out for them. Wheezily sqwarking, they were identical to their parents except for very dark coloured beaks instead of the vibrant red of mum and dad. Very wary at first, they became regulars most days flying down and even perching outside the window on a box of wood I had kept there to feed the wood fire on these cold days. They’d been coming for weeks when one day I heard loud screeches eminating from one bird a few yards away from 3 already feeding at the bread. I was more than surprised to see it was ‘Father Bird’ keeping one of the youngsters at bay. He was literally being frightened away from the family. This behaviour continued for a number of days until the baby didn’t come at all. In the past week, baby number 2, who had been kept with the family, has been attending the ‘feed in’ less and less, but lovey-dovey Father Bird has been making moves towards Mother Bird – it is coming up Spring in our part of the world after all. Obviously Father Bird had inbuilt knowledge of this information and in shooing the male youngster away from the family group, has ensured himself to be the only suitor in his family. I understand these colourful little creatures mate for life so every possibility that he and his ‘Mrs’ will be back in a few months time with another generation of babies. Hopefully in a few months time, the ‘grown up and outed’ baby may turn up with his new ‘family.’ I’ll be watching for the new arrivals!

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