Bird Activity: September
A bird call like that of a sea bird rang through the air; I recognised it as that of a black cockatoo. Four of the huge black birds flapped slowly through the gum trees and settled in pairs on two of the branches of a large gum. I ran outside with my camera. The early morning sunlight streamed down on the dew laden grass and the cold air chilled my face and fingers. I left a trail of higher, greener grass behind me where before the dew drops had turned the grass a silver green and weighed each blade down with their abundance.
I could now plainly see the yellow cheek patches and undersides of their tails. The Yellow-tailed Black cockatoos flew from the large gum tree to another and another seemingly inspecting the big gums for nesting holes. Then they cried their long “kee-ow” seabird sounding cry, and flew off with their slow, and graceful wing-beat.
In a tangle of bushes, trees and sweet scented Jasmine vine, is a platform of sticks and in the centre of that are more sticks. These sticks curve up out of the platform and almost meet at the top. I creep silently up and catch a glimpse of the female Satin Bowerbird standing there. Then she sees me and is gone. Leaving behind his collection of blue bits and pieces scattered around on the platform, the male Satin Bowerbird disappeared too, up into the bushy tree with her.
His bower really is a marvelous creation, and the time he builds it in! One day I went looking for it and found nothing, then just the next afternoon he had built a bower there, thin still, but a lot more than nothing. Since then he has built it up thicker and so the top comes closer to touching. It is not a nest but a throne for female birds to sit in while he puts on a display and shows off all his blue bits he has found, along with the occasional purple or yellow feather, onion peel of straw.
After the Yellow-tailed Black cockatoos flew off and their calls faded into the distance I heard them call again, a lot closer, or maybe I should say I heard their call but it did not come from a Yellow-tailed Black cockatoo. The Male Satin Bowerbird sat in the tree the call came from, he mimics many other birds too and it can be confusing, because I hear and often don’t realise it is the bowerbird at first. He makes the call of a Kookaburra, Willy-Wagtail, Australian Wood duck and other birds, along with his own. These too he may use to attract the females.
Last Month I mentioned the Australian Ravens. Now I can hear the cry of a young bird from the nest high in the gum tree. Ravens are scavengers and mostly eat road kill. We have a lovely fountain in our yard that all the birds like but the birds that visit it most often are the ravens, carrying lumps of “something” in their claws. They sit on the side of the fountain/birdbath and rip apart their meal taking sips of water between mouthfuls.
We have had a few “presents” left behind too, like bones, a bird leg and claw and half of what looked like a Noisy Miner bird’s beak, the leg could have belonged to it as well. The ravens regularly fly down into the chook yard and eat the layer pellets I put down for my hens, they also eat any other scraps meant for the chooks if I leave before the chooks have finished eating.
I took the camera out the other day and waited while I fed the chooks rice and bread but no ravens arrived. I left to get something from inside and the ravens returned. They flew away as soon as I came back, this cycle we repeated for about an hour. I didn’t get a single photo worth keeping of a raven. I did however get a very nice shot of a male Butcherbird.
I have also seen a pair of Red-Rumped Grass Parrots hopping around in the grass, they are such sweet birds. The females may be a bit plain but the male birds are such a sparkly green and with their beautiful red rump the do stick out. It is amazing just how many shades of green one bird can have, our creator is amazing!