A pair of noisy miners outside the Eastlands Shopping Centre were living up to their name. An unbelievably loud “pwee pwee pwee’’ resonated across the tables of the alfresco dining area of a restaurant there, making it impossible for me to hear what a relative I had met for coffee was saying. Each morning in summer and spring, I was told, the noisy miners woke him at dawn. Only this was not spring, it was barely into the last month of winter. The hint of spring carried on … [Read more...] about Miners put on a noisy show
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 cockies that bring mayhem and mischief to our valley in winter have left for breeding grounds in the upper Derwent Valley and it’s a relief not to hear their squawking, screaming and general carrying on. After they arrive in autumn, the cockies raid fruit trees in gardens and also attack wooden roofs, presumably to sharpen their beaks. But the antics of the hundreds of cockies which roost at night in the Waterworks Reserve from about May to the end of August have … [Read more...] about Cockies prove they’re not bird brains
They’re back. The welcome swallows have returned to the Waterworks Reserve. Most years I can set my calendar by them, always turning up in the first few says of September although last year they were about a week late for reasons I could not determine. At the end of August I always watch for them, just in case they make an earlier than usual return, along with the traditional early trans-state migrants, the striated pardalote and the fan-tailed cuckoo. An entry always goes … [Read more...] about Swallows make a welcome return
It’s that time of the year when magpies start to show their belligerent and rowdy side – and I’m not talking about Collingwood supporters. The comparison might seem a little unfair coming from a St Kilda devotee but the Collingwood joke always appears to emerge when I mention magpies and their apparent aggressiveness during AFL finals time at the start of spring. And so it was in the last week of August when I toured an infamous magpie “war-zone”, Clarence St on the Eastern … [Read more...] about Spring is magpie attack time
When planning a bird garden, and taking into consideration the food requirements of birds, we must divide the plants into three categories to match the bird groups I discussed last week in my “home for birds” column. As I mentioned, these are the nectarivores, frugivores and seed-eaters. Birds eat practically every type of living thing. Beaks are a good way of identifying what type of food they eat. Birds will forage in shrubs and trees, on the lawn and among ground … [Read more...] about Gardens must not stand in isolation