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
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.
It’s swooping season for aggressive birds as people invade their nesting spaces. The biggest culprit is the magpie which gets a bad press at this time of year but the latest research into these aggressive birds suggests there is more to their behaviour than meets the eye. Although magpies have always had a penchant for mischief, a study published in the journal Australian Field Ornithology reports they have taken this to a new level – outwitting the scientists who set out to … [Read more...] about When magpies swoop, it’s personal
A grey shrike-thrush in my garden was singing its “Joe Witty” song so loud that I thought it was in the house. I awoke with a start, my bedroom still in virtual darkness in the half-light of dawn. This was a year ago and the shrike-thrush had chosen a perch close to my open window to broadcast ownership of its territory which comprises half of my property. The song also woke all the other birds which make my garden their home and before long there was a dawn chorus in the … [Read more...] about Butcherbird in tune for bird count
Alarm bells were ringing in the first few weeks of spring when a migrant bird beloved by visitors to the Waterworks Reserve failed to show in big numbers. I was one of a number of birders eagerly monitoring the sandstone culverts below the car park at the entrance to the reserve where striated pardalotes can always be seen in spring and summer. The species is dubbed the “tiny bird with the big voice” and its pick-it-up, pick-it-up call usually begins to ring out in the … [Read more...] about Striated pardalotes arrive at last
Gazing up at the twinkling stars on Sunday night it was hard to imagine that light pollution was emerging as a major menace to birds across the world. The Milky Way meandered across the sky and I was confident that bright and piercing light would not disrupt the journeys of birds travelling to southern Tasmania. It’s not the same in most other cities which are blighted by artificial light. Birds navigate by a combination of the stars, the position of the sun and the … [Read more...] about Migratory birds hit a wall of light