I have a book, inside this book is a handwritten list. The list is a record of the common and scientific names of every different kind of bird that I have been able to identify on our property in Redbanks South Australia. I began this list some time after we moved to Redbanks, but I’m not sure how long after we moved I began the list.
We moved out of the suburbs and into the country in November 1988, so the list may have been going for as many as twenty three years. I’ve always liked watching birds, but since we moved out to the country, I get the chance to see many more birds than I ever saw in the ‘burbs.
I don’t write down a new bird until I’m positive I’ve made a true identification – to write down a bird if I wasn’t certain I had the correct name for it would be cheating, and I’m certainly not going to cheat myself on this. The list is inside ‘A Field Guide to Birds of Australia’ by Graham Pizzey. This excellent book is a tool known to many serious birdwatchers, I’m sure.
I have forty-one different kinds of birds on my list. One re-reading my list just now, I saw that I have in fact included one bird I’m not absolutely certain about. This bird is the brown falcon, or Falco berigora. Thinking back about twenty years, I remember I was almost certain, and I couldn’t find anything else it might have been, so I wrote the bird down. To be honest about it, I wrote ‘probably’ so that I could show the truer situation.
Anyway, my list ranges from boring non-natives like sparrows and starlings, to rarer native birds such as the purple-crowned lorikeet and my favourite, the wedge-tailed eagle. Some of the birds on the list are ones who live here in our trees and shrubs. Others are visitors who live nearby and pop by every now and then. Then there are the ‘seasonal’ ones, who appear only at certain times, and for a brief period.
One of these visitors is the purple crowned lorikeet, that comes here only when one of our kinds of gum tree flowers. This brings this bird and minors, and another kind of lorikeet, the musk lorikeet. When these birds are here, the noise level rises! Most of the birds stay out of our backyard – our dogs are hunters of birds, and the birds tend to be wary of them. The dogs have been able to catch some birds though – the most common snack the dogs catch on the fly is the spotted turtle dove, in spring, when the birds are somewhat distracted by more important things! One day when I was standing by our back door, with Ananka, our oldest Pharaoh Hound next to me, a sparrow flew by, and Ananka suddenly jumped up and caught the bird, then ran off to eat her prize!
One of my favourite ways to relax is to sit outside looking at the birds that are within sight. Every time I sit down out of the front or back of my house, I know I will see at least those common imports, sparrow and starling. If I’m sitting by our pool, I’ll often see swallows, circling around and diving down to skim up some water from the pool.
Somebody told me that the swallows are probably getting some water to take back to make mud to build their nest. I’m not sure whether or not that is true. I know that swallows do incorporate mud into their nests, so it might be. Perhaps someone out there might know for sure?
Anyway, that’s an insight into my birdwatching activities, I’d love to hear about some of the birds you have where you live!