Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Wild Ones

By now most of my followers will have worked out I'm an animal lover - no secrets there!  What I haven't told you yet is that I also encourage wild birds in my garden.  I have an organic garden - no chemicals or poisons are used, I don't spray for insects or use nasties like snail pellets.  Instead I like to encourage the wild birds into the garden, and they in turn take care of the pests for me.  I also feed the wild birds a variety of seeds, fruit and nectar, and provide them with the most essential thing in our hot Australian climate - fresh water.  To date, the reward has been a total of 40 different species visiting my little suburban block, some only seen rarely but a surprising number visiting on a daily basis.  There are also regular visits from the local possum population - they eat any leftover fruit the birds leave behind, and trim the climbing roses on my garage wall. 

Here are a few photos of some of the daily visitors - first some of Sam's friends - the wild Galahs.
Next are some native Crested Pidgeons - these make an unusual sound with their wings when flying.  I have a regular family who wait for food to be put out every day, they roost at night in a neighbour's tree.
There are a few regular visitors that I can actually recognise individually, like this Little Corella who is a loner and not part of a flock.  He's unusual because he has a pink tinge to his feathers, and Little Corellas are normally white.  He has come to know me so well that he now calls to me for food morning and evening, and will fly down as soon as it's in the feeders.  He will let me approach within a few feet of him, he's quite bold.  I have nicknamed him 'Pinky' for obvious reasons. 
There are also regular visits from flocks of about 60 Little Corellas, but I haven't taken any photos of them as yet.  Some people say they are destructive and regard them as a nuisance, but to be honest I have not seen any evidence of that here.  I like to think they repay me for feeding them by behaving themselves!

Another type of parrot which visited recently is the Long-billed Corella.  Pinky may be a cross-breed between a Little Corella and a Long-billed Corella.  I haven't seen this species until very recently, and I've lived here for 20 years. 

All the other birds in this post are native, but the Blackbird is an introduced species which is very common here. So what's so special about blackbirds in my garden? Well, these ones have been nesting in my hanging baskets for years, and recently produced three chicks. The plant you see them nesting on top of is right outside my bedroom window, in my back patio where I go to sit often every day. The parent birds fly in and out, feeding their young only a few feet away from where I sit and are quite unafraid of me. When the chicks fledge and leave the nest, they are so used to me that I can walk right up to them.  As I was taking these photos, the chicks decided to leave the nest.  I wasn't quite quick enough with the camera to get the third one!

Will I or won't I?
Only two left in the nest

Ready to fly!

Last but by no means least, a very special visit from a true Australian Icon - the Kookaburra. This visit by a pair of them is also a first for my garden. One in particular was very approachable - I was able to walk up to within a few feet of him as he sat in my Apricot tree.  Kookaburras range over a wide territory so they were here for a few days and then left - I probably won't see them again for several months but hopefully they will now include my garden in their rounds.