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Buglips the Birdman


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There was a whole family of some kind of smallish bird of prey in a massive old cottonwood in a city park nearby this morning.

 

I was walking back with some groceries, cutting through the park, when I heard a call and response of cries, sort of like a bluejay's but less shrill, more like "peer" than a bluejay's "jee-yay."

 

I could hear at least three or four individuals, maybe 60 or 70 feet up and lost in the foliage. I glimpsed one moving up a branch, about crow sized but paler, with dense, patterned tail feathers (silhouetted against an overcast white sky so I couldn't see much detail). After circling around I saw another, with a quite round head and tiny sharp beak.

 

I think they might have been sparrowhawks (aka American kestrels). Some have nested close to our home for several years now.

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We've been noticing a red tailed hawk around the last few months and a couple weeks ago noticed some pretty big fledglings cruising through the yard and woods out back.

 

Last night the cat was pointing hard at one of the trees..and what did I see?

 

 

A fledgling chomping on one of the local mammals (been real lean on mice, chipmunk and squirrel in the woods lately!) while mom looks on squawking encouragement. The tree is about 20' from my back door. It was awesome.

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Australian Magpies are a pain, they like to swoop, but they do sound very melodious. Crows aren't much of a problem where I am and they are interesting birds to watch. The Noisy Miner birds (an introduced species) are a pain as they pick at all the fruit so it spoils, the little buggers. There is a park across from a big shopping centre near where I live and watching all the traffic stop for the ducks who have decided to investigate the opposite side of the road sends me into fits of giggles. They just wander over like there is nothing to worry about. Its always lovely to sit in the park on nice days and watch all the different birds, who seem to have staked out their particular pieces of territory. The ducks have the pond, the (Australian) White Ibises hang out near the restaurant, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos wander about on their mound or underneath the nearby trees, the Galah's are over the other side by the library. There are these little birds that swoop over the rolling grounds about a foot from the grass. I can never get a good look at them because they never seem to stop, but they don't care if you walk through their 'playground', they'll just swerve around you. Its quite delightful.

 

Our neighbours have bottlebrush, which I hate because a) I'm allergic and it has a lot of pollen and b) its extremely messy when it drops its flowers/foliage. EVERYTHING turns red. The redeeming factor is that the Eastern Rosella's and Rainbow Lorikeets really love to hang out in it, and they are beautiful birds. The Honeyeaters (New Holland Honeyeater, I think) like it over there too, but usually hang out in some tree/bush I haven't identified yet. Could be another grevillea.

 

I don't see as many Willie Wagtail's around as I did when I was younger, but they are the most adorable and curious little birds, and so tiny.

 

I have possum socks, a scarf and some gloves from New Zealand. Very warm! While possums are quite adorable to look at, I have to listen to them running across my roof just about every night and when they get in hissing fits with one another, they make the screeching and yowling of cats seem trivial.

 

The local wildlife doesn't have much to fear from my cat. She's very antisocial but really just a big wuss. Watching her reaction to a big huntsman spider rearing up at her is just gold (big city huntsman, not big country huntsman. That would be terrifying).

 

I was trying to find a picture of an overgrown Australian Huntsman, I found this rather funny picture/post instead:

funny-Australia-huntsman-spider.jpg

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The Noisy Miner birds (an introduced species) are a pain as they pick at all the fruit so it spoils, the little buggers.There are these little birds that swoop over the rolling grounds about a foot from the grass.

 

I can never get a good look at them because they never seem to stop, but they don't care if you walk through their 'playground', they'll just swerve around you. Its quite delightful.

 

Noisy miners aren't actually an introduced species to Australia. Its a common misconception that I had thought true too. Its actually the indian miner which is introduced.

They are still a pest, but in the same way that some areas have excessive wallaby/kangaroo populations.

I'm assuming that when you say noisy miner you refer to the grey and yellow bird. The indian miner is brown, black and yellow but no doubt different areas may attribute the common name to both or either birds. Noisy is certainly an accurate adjective for both species.

 

It sounds like the bird you're talking about is a swallow (at least that's what I call them, though I don't know the specific species). My dog used to love chasing them, he never had a hope in hell of catching them, but it was a great work out for him. If you find the right place you can see them standing still, however briefly. They like to nest in rafters or in small nooks underneath roofs and stuff. Sometimes you catch them on the sides of bridges or fences where they occasionally fly out quickly to catch bugs. They're very pretty too a blueish black with a red chest.

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I'm a honeyeater...does that make me weird?

 

I spose it depends on whether you mean you eat honey or you mean that you're a small bird whose diet consists largely of nectar obtained from flowers by use of a specialised beak and tongue.

Neither of those things make you weird, though if its the latter then the fact that you're using a computer (and indeed the fact that you presumedly collect and possibly paint miniature figurines) certainly makes you unique.

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I spose I should share my recent avian interactions, since I have something to share.

My Nan died recently, I traveled to where the funeral was held and stayed afterwards at my Uncle and Aunt's place (5 acres bushland).

After the funeral and the wake, we were hanging out there when a kookaburra (also uncommonly known as a laughing jackass) landed on one of the cars in the driveway. My cousin was throwing some food for it, and then even managed to hand feed it. Me and my girlfriend then went up a bit later (he stuck around for ages) and he sat there calmly while we petted his chest feathers (so soft and fluffy!)

 

More recently we heard a commotion in our backyard. Magpies and currawongs (another black and white bird) and I think even the miner birds were all squawking something awful. Curious, and eventually concerned, we made our way outside and found a magpie not far into the neighbours yard huddled into a corner being attacked by other magpies.

The attackers flew off when we went to investigate and I spent some time monitoring him while he recovered from his shock. Eventually he got up and it was obvious he had a broken foot and wing but eventually he ate some mince from my hand which I used to bring him closer to the fence.

That still didn't make it easy to catch him in the hopes of taking him to a wildlife carer or vet, but eventually we did catch him and he calmed and went to sleep in a box. I wanted to take him to a carer but non were available or able to take him, so eventually I took him to the vet. As I'd feared they ended up putting him to sleep.

Probably for the best, and at least he didnt suffer a slow death at the beaks of his friends, or one of the neighbourhood cats, but it still made me sad. I love magpies and have had close experiences with them when my Uncle and Aunt have raised injured young ones on their own (no cages and they eventually fly off and live a normal life). They're very much like a cat in the way they play, very cheeky.

 

Finally if you think its funny that we have a bird called the laughing jackass you'll love the bird known commonly as the spangled drongo.

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Saw a squirrel in the yard and thought 'that is a dumb squirrel'. One of the hawks swooped in and missed. Squirrel just sat up and looked around. 'A really dumb squirrel!' Hawk swooped down again and missed (hey, it's a fledgling).

 

'That is one lucky squirrel.'

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There was a whole family of some kind of smallish bird of prey in a massive old cottonwood in a city park nearby this morning.

I was walking back with some groceries, cutting through the park, when I heard a call and response of cries, sort of like a bluejay's but less shrill, more like "peer" than a bluejay's "jee-yay."

I could hear at least three or four individuals, maybe 60 or 70 feet up and lost in the foliage. I glimpsed one moving up a branch, about crow sized but paler, with dense, patterned tail feathers (silhouetted against an overcast white sky so I couldn't see much detail). After circling around I saw another, with a quite round head and tiny sharp beak.

I think they might have been sparrowhawks (aka American kestrels). Some have nested close to our home for several years now.

Nope. They are Cooper's hawks. A whole huge family of them, right in the middle of a city park. And are they noisy.

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I definitely have some late-nesting robins back there, I've seen them flying back and forth to the same general area. That bit's pretty overgrown, but I'll check it out once fall sets in and it's easier to move through the vegetation. All nesters will be gone by then, but the nests should remain. See how many I got.

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