A Rufous Whistler in the garden

Rufous Whistler (juvenile)

Rufous Whistler (juvenile)

Over the last few days we have been enjoying the beautiful song of a Rufous Whistler in our garden. The whistlers are aptly named – their songs would be amongst the most beautiful in all of the Australian birds.  I enjoy hearing this species calling just outside my ofice window at home. Unfortunately they are not here every day. It is an added bonus when they do decide to visit.

We also get visited by the Golden Whistler. The male of that species is not only a wonderful songster, he is also very beautiful.

Rufous Whistler (juvenile male)

Rufous Whistler (juvenile male)

Golden Whistler (male)

Golden Whistler (male)


3 Responses to “A Rufous Whistler in the garden”

  1. Caroline says:

    Hi again Trevor, Last year 2008, there was a male rufous whistler in residence here when I moved in. He used to sing outside the laundry window whilst tapping at the glass. I thought when I was watching him once through the glass, that he seemed a bit old and I wondered that he might be either a bit deranged with his glass tapping routine, or lonely and thus a bit narcissitic. (Perhaps I’m just anthropomorphising, although frankly I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.) He seemed to be the only one about. I thought maybe he was trying to get the flies caught in webs on the inside of the window, so I cleaned them away. It seemed fairly insistent behaviour a tad compulsive even, and cleaning away the cobwebs and flies made no difference to it. After some heavy rain and wind in early Autumn this year, he was gone. Gone to God I wondered.

    Recently I was gladdened to read that the rufous whistler can be migratory. And just this week a female has turned up in the garden. She is a lot bigger than the male but and has taken to attacking or pecking the window in the front bedroom, which is on the same side of the house as the laundry and sings happily while she taps away. I was up out of bed quickly when I first heard her. Glorious.

    She seems to be the only one about. I’m beginning to wonder if this glass tapping routine is some sort of inherited neurotic family trait, which she has picked up, not through seeing ?Dad do it, but by simply ‘knowing’ he did it and where he did it. She did spend a bit of time down at the laundry window the day she arrived, but seems to have settled on the front one.

    Anyway I’ve had a bit of a google around, as you do, to see if I could find any other evidence of this window tapping behaviour of the rufous whistler but haven’t been able to. So will attest here that it does not seem to have been unique to one specific bird or gender.

    I last commented here you may recall, asking you about the white winged cheogh and their vandalism of other nests. It’s odd for me to declare war on any species of animals, usually I am of the live and let live type. But after they had trashed a willy wagtails next and a top know pigeons and others that I found lying around, they began to annoy me with their evil red eyes and so I became much more territorial than they, scaring the bejesus out of them (and mostly everything else) every time they tried to alight in the garden. It would seem I have won! Hrrr!

    PS. I have copied this comment (which I wrote on Sunday), from your post way back in May 2007.

  2. Caroline says:


    Here is a photo of her doing her thing. She’s quite large!

  3. Heather says:

    This post is from a long time ago but just thought I’d add that we have a male Rufous Whistler doing the same thing on two different windows. I drew the curtains on one and that has stopped him so I think its something to do with him seeing his reflection?

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