Thursday, November 29, 2018

Birds of a feather

You know how the saying goes - which is no different at Gully Grove, where many different kinds of birds, flock together. All for the smorgasbord of goodies, nature caters for on our land.

They take turns at the bird bath, and run in consecutive shifts, at visiting favourite trees. Insects don't stand a chance, seeds are spread abundantly, and their many services are invaluable in all that they do! I listen for the birds every day, and even had some close encounters.

Who's a pretty boy?

This colourful guy, is a male King Parrot. He's been so tame over the years I've gotten to know him - letting me stand meters away, to take this photo. Then when I go to walk back inside the house again, he follows me to the outside trellis, just near the back door. I've long suspected he belonged to someone at one stage. It was confirmed recently.

Not long after taking this photo, he followed me to the back trellis again, and turned his head the other way. Sadly, he was missing an eye. But that hasn't stopped him from pairing up and having kids of his own. There's a wildlife rescue centre, not far from here. I imagine he's one of their rescues, and successfully released back into the wild. He's such a charmer though, and completely won me over.

He loves to eat native seeds, but especially adores our sunflowers and pigeon pea seeds. How can I begrudge him?

The fast and timid

The Pale-headed Rosella, often visits our backyard in pairs too. This boy is also enjoying the back trellis, but is a lot more skittish than my King parrot, friend. He just spotted me at the back door, taking his photo, and flew off, not long afterwards. Like the King parrot, they like to eats seeds, fruits and flowers. Additionally, they will eat insects and their larvae.

So these are handy to have around for insect control, and they're just plain pretty. Not that they hang around long, for me to admire them.

Enjoying the sun

We have a plethora of carnivorous birds who love to regularly visit our yard as well. This is not a crow, although we do have those as well. The crow has adapted to cull the Cane-toad population here, by flipping them over and eating them from the underside - avoiding their poisonous glands on the back. So very handy to have around too.

The fellow above however, is a Pied Currawong. They're mostly carnivorous, but will supplement their diet with berries and other fruits as well. They seem to have taken a liking to my Kumquat tree, when it's in fruit - but they also raid the mulberries. So they're somewhat of a cleanup crew for fruit, and do an invaluable service of keeping insects and caterpillars under control.

The stealth bomber

This is my All-star, of the backyard carnivorous birds. Not only do they sound hilarious, but that awesome beak!! It will tackle a snake for breakfast. Not the big ones of course, but the newly hatched and juvenile snakes are fair game. Which helps to keep the larger snakes that make it to our yard, under control.

So naturally, I love to hear a new batch of fledgling kookaburras, being taken out by their parents, for a hunting expedition. If you've ever heard a juvenile kookaburra squabbling with it's siblings - it sounds like someone is being strangled. So that iconic laugh, starts out rather awkward.


This Pheasant Coucal, is one I have admired from afar, for a long time. They have a reputation for being elusive. They prefer to hunt on the ground, and hide in long grasses to pounce on their prey. Which happens to be insects, frogs, lizards, eggs and young of birds. Sometimes, even small mammals. I really hope it's the mice!

I have to say, they're a very fascinating bird. While they can fly and often will, if taken by surprise, they'd rather spend all their time on the ground. And as such...

Hunting mode

...they walk somewhat like a raptor. Low to the ground and streamlined - head to tail. That camouflage is amazing too. This is why I always take them by surprise in the garden. I never see them, until they're flying up into the trees. Which often takes me by surprise, too.

The only reason I managed to capture this one on camera, is because it came towards the verandah. Luckily, I already had my camera in that room. Otherwise I would have missed my opportunity. As they never stay in one area for long.

I haven't been able to capture an image of the brown quails who often frequent, because they are so elusive too! But know that each bird species that visits our yard, is making an important contribution. They keep the natural system in balance, act as propagators and their daily routines - encompassing the rearing of their young and visiting the Gully Grove larder, are more enjoyable to watch and listen to, than a clock on the wall. They tell me about the seasons, and how to set my own daily compass.

Are you a bird-watcher in your garden too? Have any favorites?


  1. Chris, I did the Aussie Backyard Bird Count a few weeks ago and it is always interesting spending twenty minutes a day taking note of the birds in the backyard. The one that makes its presence felt at this time of the year is the Eastern Koel or Storm Bird. It has a distinctive call which we used to think predicted rain but I read recently that it is a mating call. We have seen both the male and female Koels in recent weeks. We have most of the ones you have mentioned and some are so beautiful.

    1. Ah, thanks for sharing about the Eastern Koel. I've seen them about a few times recently - hanging out in my mulberry tree. I'm familiar with the call too. It's interesting that the Pheasant Coucal I mentioned is a cuckoo, that doesn't lay it's eggs in other birds nests. Yet the Eastern Koel is a cuckoo too, which DOES happen to be a brood parasite. Thanks for sharing, Chel. I'm learning more about our winged visitors.

  2. How cool to have such an array of birds in your backyard! Stunning!

    1. Thanks Misti, we enjoy their variety and antics. Thanks for visiting. :)

  3. Thank you, it's lovely to see other birds than just our local wildlife, your birds look much bigger and colourful than ours.

    1. We get the little birds too, but they're so much harder to photograph, lol. The blue breasted wrens are my favourite, but we haven't seen them for a while.

  4. I have a male King Parrot who comes regularly for sunflower seeds. So beautiful! He's fairly tame and I suspect he's got most of the neighbours hooked into feeding him. Sometimes he brings his mate, but she's more timid and he won't let her feed with him. Since they started coming, I've had to net all my cherry tomatoes, even when green. I never had a problem before. We've had a Koel here too; they're not native here, but seem to be moving down from the north. Otherwise it's Butcherbirds, native pigeons and Noisy Miners. All the little birds we had here at first have gone, thanks to the aggressive miners.

    I love your Pheasant Coucal. We don't have them here. The plumage is great camouflage for living in grasses.

    1. My cherry tomatoes are just starting to ripen, so I'll have to keep an eye on them! Thanks for the heads-up. We get the Noisy Miners as well, but we did have the wrens and finches live in the same area as well. They've since become sparse. I suspect when the new neighbour move in, and cleared out a thicket of lantana, it removed the protected nesting sites for them. Such a shame.

  5. Birds fascinate me, I just adore them. We have many that visit here, like kookaburras and brush turkeys and parrots too. The king parrots come in when the next door neighbour's olive trees are fruiting. We have currawongs that raid my blueberries and this weekend we've been watching a young crow that we think was kicked out of its nest. The parents are still close by because if we get too close, to the shade it's in under our mandarin tree, they swoop! We put water down for it and it's been drinking from that. Meg:)

    1. If you got any of that wind we did, recently, I wouldn't be surprised if the young crow was blown out of it's nest. Glad you put some water at ground level, for it to access. They do like citrus too! So if there's any fallen mandarins he'd be eating them. Hopefully the little guy will have enough resources to get him to flying stage. :)


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