A few feathered friends

Gardens are one of the places that can bring so much pleasure and delight not just for the humans. The garden that I have created is always evolving as trees planted by my partner grow and spread. The rainfall or lack of. The garden that surrounds my home is a place for nature. I plant to encourage bird life. I ensure that there is water at different levels and flowers in every season if possible. It seems I am very rarely without birds and their songs in the garden.

Welcome Swallow possibly a juvinelle

These small birds live all over Australia even seen flying between city buildings, from the desert to the sea. They got there name because sailors noted them as they flew about the sea indicating that land was not far. Or as a sign of Spring (Imbolc) returning as I read in another site.
They build mud nests under bridges, walls of buildings, verticle rock walls the nest is a snug lined with fur and feathers. Both parents build the nest.
They are aerial acrobats swooping and turning as they chase insects that are their food source. A variety of insects are eaten. The insect is guided into the bird’s wide, open mouth with the help of short rictal bristles bordering the bill. These bristles also help protect the bird’s eye.
I often sit out and watch them flying about my place. I have lived here a long time and have never had a nest built on the house. I would love one. (many people would think I am crazy).

New England Honey Eater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The White-cheeked Honeyeater is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater. If the bird has the white eye it is the New Holland Honeyeater.
After the Dutch navigators charted the northern, western and southern coasts of Australia during the 17th Century this newly found continent became known as ‘New Holland’ These little birds are named New Holland from this name.

New Holland Honeyeaters are active feeders.They mostly eat the nectar of flowers, and busily dart from flower to flower in search of this high-energy food. Other food items include fruit, insects and spiders. Birds may feed alone, but normally gather in quite large groups. Most feeding takes place in lower areas of bushes and thickets

The long, curved beak these honeyeaters have are perfect for reaching deep into a flower to get to the sweet nectar inside.

These birds get their name from the first name given to Australia (New Holland). It was called New Holland because the Dutch were the first Europeans to visit here.

New Holland Honeyeaters have two breeding peaks, in summer and winter, when they build two different nest types. Their winter nest is built at the top of a bush facing the northern sun to keep it warm. In summer they build their nest deep in the bush away from the heat and the sun.

Striated Pardolte (Pardalotus striatus)

The Striated Pardalote can be found throughout much of Australia, and across this range there are numerous populations and subspecies. Despite being tiny birds, some populations undertake remarkable migratory movements, while others remain in the same area throughout the year. In some populations, some of the birds migrate while others remain behind. Clearly, the movements of the Striated Pardalote are complex. The best-known migratory population breeds in Tasmania and makes regular seasonal movements across Bass Strait, where they mix with various mainland-breeding populations.

Striated Pardalotes feed in the foliage in the tops of trees, although occasionally coming close to the ground in low shrubs. They eat a wide variety of insects and their larvae, which are usually captured by picking them from the surfaces of leaves. Feeding takes place in small groups and birds maintain contact with soft trills.

During breeding season, Striated Pardalotes form pairs or small groups of up to six birds. The nest is constructed close to the ground, usually in a tree hollow or tunnel, excavated in an earthen bank; small openings in human-made objects are frequently used. The birds display regularly at the entrance to the nesting chamber, and vigorously guard the vicinity against other pardalotes. Both sexes incubate and care for the young birds. Other members of the group may also help with the feeding of the young.

These are just three of the visitors to my garden. I am so fortunate and keep planting to attract more birdlife, bees, butterflies and dragonflies. Along with the wallabies, bancicoots, quolls and the tasmania devils who I heard fighting last night on the old dam wall. The possums that chase each other over my metal roof during mating season, and the one that makes Busby bark in the wee small hours of the night waking me in fright. I certainly can not forget the wonder of having an echidna or two that roams across my paddock and garden. How wonderful to have and be creating such a home for us all. To live in harmony.

I will be woken in the morning with no alarm clock but the sweet sounds of so many birds hopefully not demanding me to fill the water bowl…(just checked it and it is full).

I am thankful to have these wonderful birds feel welcome in the garden. Mother earth is so wonderful if you plant the things the birds and animals enjoy, they will come.

Blessings to you all Tazzie

A little Cocky heading into 2020

Sulpher Crested Cockatoo (c) Echidna Home (2019)

Cockatoos or Cockys/Cockies (coll) are intelligent, cheeky, loud, destructive to trees (some folk feel) and so funny to watch at times, they have a very funny walk. They are a bit similar to humans who have a preferred hand; they have a preferred’ footness’, but it seems from research most are more left footed. Adaptable birds they survive in both cities and the bush. They dine on berries, nuts, seeds and roots.

My Poppy(grandfather) had a pet Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita). It had a large cage but only went in it to eat or when it was a bit nervous, say if my cousins bought their dog over with them. He was called Cocky and my Poppy had taught him to speak. He could say all the usual “Hello Cocky” and “who is a pretty bird”. He would scream “feed me, feed me” when anyone was near by with food. He loved a scratch on his head, and would say oh “darl give us a scratch”. My Pop used to ask my Grandma for a scratch of his back every evening in this manner. As I said he was never in his cage and his wings were not clipped. My Poppy did not do that with any of his birds.

Poppy had been a rabbiter as a job in the bush, and my Dad and his four siblings and their Mum (Grandma) all lived in a tent. Summer and winter. They were very poor. My Pop just was wild about Australian native animals and birds, he loved the bush . He taught me so much.

Back to Cocky he would sit about on the furniture, and go outside whenever Pop did. Cocky would go flying and return home, he would not be gone long usually he would get frightened by other birds.

My Pop had found him when he was a chick. Most likely fell out of the nest in a hollow in the tree. My Pop could not climb trees he had scurvy when he was little. You could drive a bus through his legs. He also knew that a cat would get the chick pretty quick in the area he found it. If he had left the chick on the ground. No parent was in sight nor squawking about the chick. So he took him home and hand rared him. Cocky adored Pop.

Male Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo (c) Echidna Home 2019 (male because black ring around his eye females are reddish pink)

The black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus funereus) about here love the pine cones. You can see sap all over this ones beak. It is not uncommon for people to park their cars under pine trees to keep them cool and have pine cones that the cockys are finished with drop onto the car, damaging them or smashing the windscreen. Both birds have an amazing scrreeeech I have thought it was someone hurt.

A perfect landing Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (c)Echidna Home 2019

They are stunning looking in flight.

Cockatoos live a similar life span to humans, and when my Poppy had to go into a nursing home my Uncle adopted Cocky, and would take him in to visit Poppy. (Cocky would sit in the front seat of the car and jump on the arm rest and look out the window on the trip. When they got to the Nursing home he would cry out “Poppy where here, Poppy where here” ( Which is what all his grandchildren used to call out when any of us visited them at home), until he found Pop. He would fly to him, sit on his shoulder rubbing his head on Poppys cheek and give him gentle little pecks like kisses. He loved my Uncle and learnt some more words that I will not share.

I do hope your Have a Good New Years Eve

Tazzie.

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