This great birding moment was quite unexpected. A few days ago were invited over to our friends’ farm for a meal. We had just driven out of our driveway and headed up the hill towards their farm; it’s about a half hour’s drive. We’d driven several kilometres when I had to slow down for a sharp bend in the road. As we approached the corner I observed two birds sitting in the shade of a roadside tree. I didn’t immediately identify them but as I steered around them I was aware that it was a pair of Quail.
Now quails are a family of birds I don’t often see, so just around the corner I was able to do a quick U-turn and go back for a good look. This was quite safe as it is a quiet country road. They were still sitting there in the middle of the road and I was able to pull up about 2 metres from them. It was a male and female – I assume a pair – of Painted Button-Quail, only the third time I had ever seen this bird.
They stood there for about a minute before skulking off into the grass and undergrowth on the side of the road. This made us a few minutes late for our dinner engagement, but it didn’t matter as our hosts weren’t ready when we arrived anyway.
Of course I was annoyed I didn’t have my camera with me. Will I ever learn? So to see a photo of this beautiful species you will have to click on the link below.
- Photo of a Painted Button-Quail – from the Australasian Bird Image Database.
- Courting display: a display by either a male or female bird, or both, used to attract a mate with the aim of breeding.
Different species have different ways of attracting a mate. Some take on very attractive plumage, as in the male of the blue wrens of Australia. Others have elaborate displays with their feathers, such as the Lyrebird. Some build special structures like the Bowerbirds.
Some have a simple display of fanned tail feathers. We often see our resident male Crested Pigeons displaying by fanning out their tail feathers in an attempt to attract the female. Yet other species use song to attract a potential mate.
The courting display is a special behaviour seen from time to time in birds and is usually followed, if successful, by nest building and breeding.
This is part 6 in the series of articles called The Lazy Birder.
- Pour yourself a favourite liquid refreshment.
- Settle in your most comfortable chair in front of the television.
- Switch on the television.
- Watch your favourite television programme.
- Take particular notice of any birds seen during the programme.
- Listen to the sound track of the programme. Can you hear any bird calls?
- Try to identify the birds you see or hear.
- This method is particularly effective when outside broadcasts or sporting events are on television. (Warning: if the origin of the broadcast is from another country or continent you may have difficulty identifying the birds you see.)
- If you don’t see or hear any birds, don’t be too disappointed; enjoy the show anyway.
- The photo below has nothing to do with this article.
- Diurnal: a bird species that is active by day, the opposite of nocturnal.
Most birds are diurnal. Which is just as well because I like my sleep. That’s probably why I don’t see many owls or nightjars and other nocturnal birds. Most birds are very active during the day and I find them irresistible to watch as they go about their daily activities. Regular readers of this blog will already know that I am constantly on the lookout for interesting bird happenings in our garden. I love sharing these events with all who read this blog.
Another benefit in the fact that most birds are diurnal is that it makes bird photography so much easier. That’s a lazy birder speaking. It could also account for why I do not have many photos of birds taken at night. In fact, the tally stands at zero.
I do have a lovely photo of a nocturnal bird however. A friend showed me where a Spotted Nightjar was roosting, and I managed to get the photo shown below.
This is part 5 in the series of articles called The Lazy Birder.
- Do not set your alarm when you go to bed.
- Sleep soundly all night.
- When you have finished sleeping, wake up – slowly.
- As you begin to be aware of your surroundings, start listening. (Be careful not to strain your ears too much.)
- Listen to the birds calling outside your bedroom.
- Try to identify five different kinds of birds from their calls.
- If you are particularly energetic, reach over to your bedside cupboard and pick up a pen and paper and make a list of the birds you heard.
- Drift off back to sleep.
- Try doing this when out camping in a tent or caravan.
- You should aim for at least ten species using this method.
- Certain urgent bodily functions may rudely interrupt this wonderful method of birding.