The boyz are back in the hood now that we are firmly in the grip of winter and Gloria the raven is being left out in the cold. The “boyz” are a flock of black currawongs which descend on my neighbourhood from their usual kunanyi/Mt Wellington stronghold about the time the first frosts appear on garden lawns. The boyz, of course, include females and these 20-strong flocks appear as just one big raucous gang out to cause mayhem in suburban gardens. The forest ravens – … [Read more...] about Ravens and currawongs in a turf wars
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.
It was as though a grey fantail – singing a tinkling, thin song – had arrived on cue. Landcare volunteers were busy turning an old overgrown, log-strewn quarry into the latest addition to Hobart’s wildlife landscape. The members of the Waterworks Valley Landcare Group had already named their latest project Fantail Quarry and the fantail, flitting through the treetops above the volunteers’ heads, was giving their efforts a seal of approval. The work of the 13 Landcare and … [Read more...] about Fantail arrives on cue
I’ve received a steady stream of mail from the “grey birder” fraternity following a column I wrote saying that bird-watching had been proven to slow the ageing process. It seems that many correspondents can confirm the finding by the American Institute of Ageing that for older people our feathered friends can be good for mind, body and soul. A reader in Claremont wrote to say in no uncertain terms that “bird-watching is great”, a view influenced in part by the sight of two … [Read more...] about ‘Grey birders’ take flight
Migrating birds and migrating people have something in common. They know no boundaries. The thought occurred to me during the night of the winter solstice when I joined a wildlife walk in the Waterworks Reserve which had been organised for new arrivals to Tasmania. Environmental group Wildcare Tasmania organises wildlife experiences for people new to Tasmania under its “get outside’’ banner and I joined the first they had organised to study nocturnal birds and animals. The … [Read more...] about Bird and human migrants know no boundaries
On the shortest day of the year, in the depths of winter, I expected the birds in my neighbourhood to be mute, saving the energy required for song until spring was on the horizon. But confounding this theory, the new holland honeyeaters, the eastern spinebills and golden whistlers were in full voice on June 22. Already the birds of the Waterworks Valley where I live were preparing to move from the territories they had established to see them through the winter and were now … [Read more...] about It’s all in the stars