Apostlebirds in Peterborough
Over the last few days we have been visiting family in Peterborough in the mid-north of South Australia. This is where my wife grew up and over the years we have visited on many occasions. This area has many of the bird species seen in the southern parts of the state but being near to the edge of the northern, drier parts of South Australia, there is a range of dry-land species as well.
The Apostlebird is not common in South Australia and I only know of a few locations where they can be reliably observed, Peterborough being one of them. Because our visit coincided with some very cold weather I didn’t venture out birding much during our three day stay, except for once when it cleared up and the sun emerged, albeit weakly. I will write about that excursion in a day or two.
As we were about to leave this morning, we lingered in the morning sun in the back garden checking out a few plants. Suddenly we observed a small flock of 6 Apostlebirds in a fruit tree just over the side fence in a neighbour’s garden. The birds just sat there preening their feathers for about five minutes before flying off again.
My sister-in-law works in the local hospital and often observes these birds in the grounds of the hospital. On one occasion recently she rang us to tell us that the Apostlebirds had visited her garden and were hopping around her as she watched.
This behaviour is consistent with my experiences elsewhere; they can be quite gregarious and quite unafraid when approaching humans, especially when food is on offer. When camping in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park (NW Victoria) on a number of occasions years ago we experienced this species hopping onto our picnic table trying to have a share in our food. The photo above shows several birds I saw in the Western Plains Zoo car park in Dubbo, NSW, just a short distance from where several picnicking groups had been.
Our sighting in Peterborough this morning was a lovely end to a relaxing few days with family.