Archive for April, 2009

Theatened Birds of Australia

Regent Honeyeater, Cleland Wildlife Park

Regent Honeyeater, Cleland Wildlife Park

Today in the mail I received the latest newsletter of the Threatened Bird Network, a sub-group of Birds Australia.

I read the newsletter while finishing my lunch and having a cuppa.

I knew that large tracts of Australia have been cleared, but to have the stark facts in print in front of you comes as a shock. I quote:

‘With a third of Australia’s woodland vegetation cleared, and over 80% of the temperate woodlands converted into agricultural land, it comes as no surprise that one in five of our temperate woodland dependent birds are threatened. This equates to over 40 species, including the nationally endangered Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater.’

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing a Swift Parrot in the wild and can’t recall seeing one in captivity. The only Regent Honeyeater I’ve seen is the one featured here on this page, and that was in a walk through aviary at Cleland Wildlife Park near Adelaide.

Such beautiful birds. Sad that their very existence is under threat.

Regent Honeyeater, Cleland Wildlife Park

Regent Honeyeater, Cleland Wildlife Park

Birding is a great hobby

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

Birding is a very cheap and relaxing hobby. You can pursue it almost anywhere . I once made a list of birds seen in church – through a nearby window – go figure. I’ve also made a list of birds heard while still in bed (while camping). I’ve even made lists of birds heard while sitting on the toilet.

You could say I’m a little obsessed.

As for being a cheap hobby, you don’t need any special equipment. Sure – you can buy expensive field guides and handbooks. The Handbook of Aussie birds (7 volumes) will set one back over $3000. Binoculars can cost from $125 to many thousands of dollars.  Camera gear and travel can add considerably to costs – I spent over $6000 a few years ago to see and handful of species new to me on the slopes of Mt Everest (read about that on my travel blog).

But birding can be as cheap as looking out of the window to see a beautiful finch or wren hopping around the garden.

The hobby is whatever you want to make it.

If birding appeals to you can I suggest reading my series called How to be a Birder?

Bird by bird

There are many beautiful and fascinating birding blogs getting around these days. I cannot hope to keep up with them all.

Every now and then I come across one with a difference, a blog that is an unusual take on a common theme. Bird by Bird: sketching a bird a day, one at a time is one such blog.  The author doesn’t take photos of birds like so many other bird bloggers. Instead, the birds are sketched, and the artwork is shown on the blog pages.


Well worth a visit.

Australian Owlet-Nightjar

I was delighted a few evenings ago to hear an Australian Owlet-nightjar calling in the garden. It’s really nice to observe that it is still around.

A few months ago we would hear this delightful nocturnal bird calling during the day. That’s right – during the day. It would come out of its hollow and sit in the sun for a half hour or so, calling occasionally.

Being a nocturnal bird I had not thought I’d ever get a chance to photograph this species, so it was a double delight – actually seeing the bird AND getting a reasonable photo.

To read more and see a photo click here or here.

Birding is a dangerous hobby

I thoroughly enjoy going out birding.

Not only does it get me out looking at all of those wonderful birds we have here in Australia, it also gets me out there in the fresh air and gives me much needed exercise. Generally birding is a relaxing occupation.

Well – at least I thought it was a relaxing, safe and non-contact sport.


Until I read this newpaper article about a Dutch birder visiting India:

Elephant tramples Dutch Birder: The Telegraph, Kulkata, India.

Birders beware.