October 1, 2010

Our Visiting Birds

Previously I've mentioned that we've had some laughing kookaburras visiting us on our back verandah, looking for a snippet or two of food. They seemed to be very friendly, taking food from our fingers, though still wild birds. Someone nearby must have started feeding them and one of the birds took a chance upon seeing me out the back one day to see if I would hand over any food. Fortunately I had a little in the fridge which I was happy to give them.

I don't believe in feeding them, but adding a little treat is ok.

Before long the laughing kookaburra brought over another kookaburra, and a week or two later there was a group of three. One of them is too shy and will only take food left out if we stand well back. The shy one will swoop in, snatch up the food and go back to the nearby tree.
I began to call them with a signal "cook-cook-cook-cook!" and they figured out it was me and would come flying over from about 1/4 km away.

The very intelligent magpies nearby must have seen me feeding the kookaburras and one turned up a couple of weeks ago upon hearing me call "cook-cook-cook-cook!" She is feeding young in the nest, because while she will eat a small portion of minced meat from my hand, then take a large chunk of mince back to the nest.

Soon, the first magpie was joined by a larger magpie who is too shy to feed straight from my hand, but I leave out a portion of mince for this one. She appears to be feeding babies as well, because she flies off with a good beakfull, and then flies back a few minutes later.

In the last week or so a pied butcherbird has turned up as well. It's about half the size of the magpies and this one will also take food from my fingers, but only if she's really hungry. She prefers that I leave the food out so she can help herself. I'm hoping to get a good photo soon.

Last week, one of the magpies heard me calling "cook-cook-cook-cook!" and flew straight over from a nearby tree. In her beak was a grasshopper and a very green worm. She was determined though to add mince to her children's meal and somehow managed to snatch up a morsel of mince to add to her collection. The magpies don't waste time and energy. They will not fly away until their beak is very full. Sometimes they take so much into their beak that they simply cannot carry it all and occasionally manage to spill it.

I also managed to finally get a photo of a double-barred finch. Several months ago I spotted one in the backyard, but never saw it again until a couple of days ago.

Here it is on the right.

In an earlier blog entry I showed you a photo of an Australian King Parrot (male) that's been hanging about for a month or so. The other day I spotted a new one and I was so excited because I thought it was the mate for the male king parrot.

Alas, it was simply a juvenile male. One of these days I'm hoping to see a female Australian King Parrot and catch a photo or two.

God continues to bless me - I really enjoy the wonderful birdlife in our close neighbourhood, and to be treated to such special visits from wild birds gives me great pleasure.

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