Striated Thornbill, Acanthiza lineata (Image Credit: Tobias Hayashi)
On an overcast and coolish Sunday morning of October 22nd, Ornithologist Peter Miller led a group of 19 Bird enthusiasts (including three children & a sleeping baby!) on a leisurely stroll through the Fair Mt Majura Grassy Woodlands.
Peter’s friendly storytelling style interspersed with questions and lively discussion kept us all in a positive mood to find out more about our local, very diverse birdlife (around 112 species have been recorded in Mount Majura).
Peter shared lots of tips and examples for spotting and identifying birds, including their characteristics songs and flight styles. Several mobile Apps now include the calls and songs for a number of species which can assist in identification. However, Peter did caution us not to over (ab)use these App calls to ‘lure’ birds to put in an appearance just for us, as this can stress and confuse birds trying to find these virtual rivals and/or partners.
Catching a glimpse of Majura’s feathered inhabitants (Image credit: Max Power)
Peter related an interesting anecdote from a research article which illustrates just how smart, adaptive and innovative birds really are: Some urban birds have learned to incorporate cigarette filter butts into their nests containing nicotine (which can act as an insecticide), to help reduce the number of ticks in their nest! The cigarette butt article it is available on line at https://www.newscientist.com/article/2138655-birds-use-cigarette-butts-for-chemical-warfare-against-ticks/
Additionally, some of our keen-eyed observers today spotted a pair of (tiny) Buff-rumped Thornbills using the cracks between a large Gum tree’s bark as their Nesting site, perfectly camouflaged and protected from the weather.
Today we were lucky enough to hear and catch glimpses of the following bird species during our two and a half hour stroll (8-10.30am) :
Collared Sparrowhawk, Galah, Crimson Rosella, Magpie, Australian Raven, Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, Brown Thornbill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Striated Thornbill, Magpie Lark (peewit), Crested pigeon, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Superb Blue Fairy Wren, Striated Pardalote, Western Gerygone, Golden Whistler, Leaden Flycatcher, Grey Fantail, White-winged Chough, Mistletoebird, Olive- backed Oriole, Pied Currawong, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo …….. that’s some 20 odd species of different BIRDS in just a couple of hours (of which about half I (personally) have not seen before). So a Big ” Thank You ” Peter for sharing your expertise.
How lucky we are to live in this Ngunnawal / Canberra region of Australia.
Max Pouwer, FoMM.
Any errors or omissions are mine.