Birds in the heat
Over the last three days we have had a severe burst of extremely hot days. On Friday the temperature reached 45C (113F) under our front veranda. It was no better on Saturday when it again reached 45C. Yesterday was a little “cooler” as it only reached 40C (104F). Much cooler weather moved through the state last night and today’s forecast is for 22C (72F). What a contrast!
Probably the most frequent visitors to our garden bird baths were the pardalotes, both the Striated (as shown in the photos) and the Spotted. At times there were five or six of them. When I took the hose to replenish the water supply, several of them waited politely not more than a metre away. Pity I didn’t have the camera on me. The above photos were taken a few minutes later. I sat in the shade of the veranda, but the oppressive heat in the wind was too much and I retreated to air-conditioned comfort after about five minutes.
All during the heat there was a constant parade of birds taking advantage of the water I supplied. These include:
- Striated Pardalote
- Spotted Pardalote
- House Sparrow
- Red Wattlebird
- New Holland Honeyeater
- Brown Headed Honeyeater
- White Plumed Honeyeater
- Spiny Cheeked Honeyeater
- Singing Honeyeater
- Crested Pigeon
- Spotted Turtledove
- Australian Magpie
- Australian Magpie Lark
- Willie Wagtail
Despite the oppressive heat we had very few bushfires in South Australia over the last few days, in stark contrast to the situation in Victoria (click here and here).
Hi Trevor, Interesting that the Striated Pardalotes visiting your birdbath are young ones. S Ps are only very occasional visitors here in Novar Gardens, but in the last week I have seen 6 in two lots of 3, all juveniles.
We have both species resident in our garden and we delight in hearing and seeing them on a daily basis. They are regular visitors to our bird baths which delights us. Both species are regular breeders on our five acre block but we usually find the nest burrow well after the event. They are quite sneaky when nesting. For a recent photo of a nest I did find see here
This comment came from Helga on Birding-Aus:
Hi Trevor and others, yes it was very hot here in South Australia over the weekend and our birdbath also attracted lots of visitors. Biggest surprise was a Purple-crowned Lorikeet, a species I have never seen before in our birdbath. I’m guessing they normally get enough fluids from their diet, but in this sort of weather (45 degrees) even they needed some water.
Helga is right in her comments about the Purple Crowned Lorikeets. This species is a regular visitor to our garden and the nearby mallee scrub, but they never come to the bird baths. In fact, the only parrot to use our bird baths to this point are the Mallee Ringnecks. For a photo click the link below
Here is another comment on Birding-Aus about birds in the heat, this time from Doug in Berri, a town about 2 hours drive north east from here:
I have had weebills drinking over the past few days where it has been 48C on my front verandah, near Berri SA, pardolotes often come in.
Weebills and thornbills occasionally come to our bird baths but they prefer to wait until the sprinkler is going. Then it is communal showering time, sometimes with as many as a dozen birds enjoying the spray.
John, another contributor to Birding-Aus made this comment:
A few years ago I drove over the Hay Plains when the temperature was in the 40s and was very amused to see at certain telegraph poles a row of Little Crows lined up in the not very wide shadow.
Mike, from Penrith near Sydney, has added this comment on Birding-Aus:
Here in Penrith, usually the hottest place in the Sydney area, several pairs of Masked Lapwings live in Jamieson Park. When the temperature approaches 40 deg C they stand in line in the shadow of the floodlight stanchions at the netball courts. As the shadow moves, so the lapwings shuffle around to stay within its bounds.
Spotted Pardalote and Striated Pardalote
We have many Spotted Pardalote and Striated Pardalote in our garden. We have several nests around our home. They love nesting in our pile of loam near the dam next to our house. They are unafraid of sitting in our trees just near where we are standing. They are beautiful birds and are seen in our bird bath frequently. How lucky we are.
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Hi Trevor. I guess you know that Striated pardalote will readily nest in nesting boxes. I’ve been making them for years, and the nearly always work. Check out my website to see pictures of them nesting. http://www.nestboxesenvironest.com/john They are quite unafraid and easy to observe. I have one nest box right next to my back door, and When I go out, I can open the door and see what’s going on. If the female is on eggs, she doesn’t seem to mind. I’ve even had them go into the box and feed their babies whilst standing there holding the door open.