Author Rachel Carson’s dystopian vision of a silent spring is rapidly being realised, according to a global survey which pays particular attention to our falling bird populations in Tasmania. The report on the state of the world’s birds reveals a biodiversity crisis largely driven by land clearance and intensive farming, with once-common species now at risk. One in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, says the State of the World’s Birds report, a … [Read more...] about Once common birds at risk
On The Wing
A column for all seasons
Everyone has a story about birds. They are all about us and are our contact point with nature. The birds I see are usually in an urban environment and so I concentrate on these in my writing. I don’t pretend to be an expert but birds of the city and suburb are also the ones that most people identify with, the species you do not need a compass and binoculars to seek out. A scarlet robin singing in a garden is just as exciting as a swift parrot in an ancient forest and is worth just as many words in my On the Wing writings.
The equinox came and went this autumn and I didn’t even notice. Funny that, because I’m always confused by a moment in time divided equally between night and day. I’m not alone because sometimes birds forget to migrate during the equinox in mid-March and start to sing, because they think it’s spring. Not so the longer division of day and night, the winter solstice on June 21 this year, which records the longest night at the same time the northern hemisphere is recording the … [Read more...] about Pathways through the cosmological landscape
Moves to bring North Korea into the international fold might have dominated the headlines in recent weeks with President Donald Trump’s intervention but a feathered ambassador travelling from both Australia and New Zealand got there first. The bar-tailed godwit, whose epic round-trip migratory journey of at least 24,000 kilometres requires a stopover in North Korea, has for the past 10 years created a conduit for communication between the “hermit state” and a western nation, … [Read more...] about Diplomats with wings
The weather forecast predicted a dull and overcast day for the annual Tasmania gull count this year, an apt metaphor for birds that always seem to be under a cloud. Lots of people do not like gulls, particularly silver gulls which hang around the fish punts on the waterfront, always seizing a chance to steal a chip or two. The gulls are, in fact, called “rats with wings” in some quarters and I always think this is an unfair appellation for them. Amid the squawk and squeal, … [Read more...] about A blaze of reflected light
Birdwatchers often avoid hunting for the little brown birds, or “LBBs”, which are often hard to identify and offer little reward in terms of beauty and spectacle. It now appears the LLBs are being overlooked on a wider scale – in the pecking order of birds to be saved from extinction. This very issue has come to the fore in recent weeks with questions being asked in the Federal Senate about two unremarkable birds on King Island – the King Island thornbill and scrubtit – … [Read more...] about The pecking order of protection