Reports of birds being on the brink of extinction are so common that they are like bereavement notices in newspapers – they tend not to be noticed unless you know the people involved. The shock news recently that the secretary bird of Africa was facing extinction certainly felt like an impending death in the family. The secretary bird featured in a study by Birdlife International which revealed nearly 50 per cent of the world’s birds were under threat. Although many … [Read more...] about Secretary bird losing ground
On The Wing
Passport to birdland
Birdland is a magical place where it’s possible to escape all the pressures and stresses of the environment of the city created and inhabited by one species – humans – and immerse yourself in a less one-dimensional world. Birdland is nowhere in particular, and does not have to be special or noteworthy. It could be in the wildest of wild forest, or in suburbia. It could be a pristine beach, a few hectares of eucalypt woodland, or a neatly manicured city park. It could be a backyard. That’s the magic of birds; they bring beauty and wonder to every corner of the planet, wild or untamed, and my On the Wing writing is their celebration.
All the world’s a stage in the avian world and when it comes to a global performer the starling tops the bill. Although originating in Europe, starlings introduced by European colonisers have spread across the world, where in a never-ending drama between good and evil it has certainly become the villain. It raids crops, spreads disease and makes its home in the most disruptive and destructive of places. Not a week goes by during the spring and summer months when I don’t … [Read more...] about ‘Villain’ starling takes centre stage
The cry of the cuckoo has been ringing out across my street in recent weeks. The “freeloaders” are finally back in town, if a little late. Although I have never been a fan of cuckoos and the upheaval they sow in the bird world, I found myself – possibly against my better judgment - seeking them out this year instead of the more beautiful and benign woodland birds who are tricked into rearing cuckoo young. Strangely, the cuckoo’s call at the start of spring had fallen … [Read more...] about The ‘freeloaders’ are back in town
Somewhere out there on the mudflats of Tasmania is an avian super-star – a shorebird capable of flying non-stop for 13,560 kilometres. A bar-tailed godwit, merely named 23464, has beaten the world record for non-stop flight on an epic journey from Alaska to Tasmania. The flight of the godwit was tracked over an 11-day period as it crossed the Pacific to land at its final destination in Anson Bay, north-east Tasmania. As revealed by the satellite tracking device attached to … [Read more...] about Avian superstar flies 13,560 kilometres nonstop
A group of children were invited to spread their wings and shake their tail feathers earlier this month – to gain an appreciation of birds. I unwittingly found myself a part of the action when I stumbled on the nature program on my daily ramble through the Waterworks Reserve. But I was soon in harmony, if not in step, with this initiative led by environmental educator and dance teacher Alejandra Osorio Iturriaga. I’ve been involved in many education projects over the … [Read more...] about A song and dance over birds