It’s that time of the year when rats and mice are rampant in our homes, and the time of the year when our beautiful birds of prey are exposed to dangerous rodenticides. Some types of rat and mice poisons can be harmful to birds if they pick up dead and dying rodents and so we must be careful with the products we choose at the supermarket or in the hardware store. I’ve written about the danger of rodenticides in the past and this winter I had a chance to put this knowledge … [Read more...] about Beware rodenticide danger to birds of prey
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.
Before I go to bed each night, I pause for a few minutes to listen for the call of the boobook owl. It doesn’t happen often but if I am lucky I hear the onomatopoeic “boo-book” call carrying far and wide from the wet forest above my home in Dynnyrne. It’s special – especially if I stand on my drive and listen to the owls on star-lit summer nights – because I have always been intrigued by these curious birds. My knowledge of owls is lacking, however. As night hunters they … [Read more...] about Wisdom, knowledge flies on silent wings
Now the Southern Ocean is a lonely place Over troubled waters and restless skies You’ll see those mollymauks rise and dive. Wherever I go, I can’t escape birds. I was taking a time out from birding at a Festival of Voices concert when a song about seabirds featured on the program. It was not surprising really. I was enjoying a performance of sea shanties by a choir of old salts, The Stranded Wailers. Why don’t you ride the wind and go, white seabird Ride the wild and … [Read more...] about Mollymawks sing a sad song
Four young hikers stranded by bad weather at Melaleuca in the far south-west pondered how to spend their time before a delayed flight arrived to ferry them back to Hobart. They had run out of food and booze, and there was no internet connection. All they had was a pack of cards with pictures of birds. As they waited for the weather to clear, they set out to devise a card game of their own based on their knowledge of birds, coincidentally a game also in keeping with their … [Read more...] about Bird card game has hikers in a spin
For bird-watchers, winter is the time for caliology - that’s the study of birds’ nests in case you are wondering. During this time of year with trees and shrubs stripped of leaves, nests are easy to find. The nests of bigger sticks built by ravens and currawongs are also blown from trees in winter storms. The subject of nests came up when I was invited to appear on ABC Radio’s Afternoons with Joel Rheinberger recently, in their current daily segment devoted to … [Read more...] about Kelp gulls discover plastic for DIY homes