Archive for the 'Bird baths' Category

White-browed Woodswallow at our bird bath

White-browed Woodswallow

White-browed Woodswallow

I must admit that I really enjoy seeing any of the six Australian species of woodswallows. On the downside, we only can expect to see three of those six species in our garden. To see the remaining three species I would have to travel several hundred kilometres to the north.

In fact, we only have fleeting visits from any of the woodswallows which occur in our area. They might hang around for a few minutes and then they are gone again. On most occasions I only see them swooping around high in the sky, presumably catching flying insects. On one special occasion two species flew in together and settled briefly – but long enough for photos.

Several weeks ago on one of the very hot days we are experiencing here in South Australia a solitary White-browed Woodswallow came to visit one of our bird baths – as recorded in the photos shown today. It was my wife who spotted it first and she was quite surprised; I don’t think that she had seen one up as close as this one. Because it was very thirsty it stayed around for quite a few minutes, long enough for me to take a good number of photos. At one stage it was not afraid to share the water with an Australian Magpie Lark (see below), a much larger species.

Further reading:

 

White-browed Woodswallow and Australian Magpie Lark

White-browed Woodswallow and Australian Magpie Lark

Birds in the heat

New Holland Honeyeaters at our bird bath

New Holland Honeyeaters at our bird bath

Here in South Australia we are experiencing our hottest summer on record. I won’t bore you with the details, but just say that we have had far too many days in the 40s (45C is equal to 113F). During such heatwaves – which can last for several days – our bird population suffers terribly. On these days the resident birds in our garden really appreciate the various bird baths we have placed in suitable locations.

Even on a warm day we get a constant parade of birds visiting the various bird baths in our garden. Our sun room overlooks several of them and this affords me an ideal location to take photos of them. Some birds still visit the water even on quite cold days – but we haven’t had many of those lately.

Probably the most common visitors would have to be the honeyeater species, including:

  •  Red Wattlebirds,
  • White-plumed honeyeaters,
  • New Holland Honeyeaters,
  • Brown-headed Honeyeaters 
  • Singing Honeyeaters
  • Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters

Other regular visitors include:

  • Australian Magpies
  • White-winged Choughs
  • Grey Currawong
  • Australian Magpie Larks
  • Crested Pigeons
  • Spotted Turtledove
  • Striated Pardalote
  • Spotted Pardalote
  • Silvereyes
  • House Sparrow
  • Common Starling
  • Common Blackbird
White-plumed Honeyeater

White-plumed Honeyeater

Male House Sparrow at our bird bath

Male House Sparrow at our bird bath

 

The importance of water to birds

I love getting comments from my readers. Every now and then I get a really interesting one, like the one from Sue which I have quoted below.

Happy new year Trevor!

A Big thank you for maintaining your site…

I’m in suburban Adelaide, and I put a second bath into the garden when the hot weather struck early in the season. We have always had a terracotta pot pond with water lilies that allows for the bees to drink as well having a strong enough rim for some of the larger birds. The other two are just very large terracotta pot saucers, one on the ground, the other now in a raised garden bed under a deep shade tree.The ring neck dove (Spotted Turtle-dove) nested and fledged a chick in a hanging pot under the verandah.. Much cooler than her previous nest . Blackbird got it wrong and build a nest behind the fence post on the support rail .. But the iron faces west and is only shaded part of the day. She sat the nest for a full week before abandoning it, I suspect it was far too hot once the sun tracked round. Unfortunately, mid year, the neighbours had removed the large shrubs many of them had been using.

The New Holland honeyeaters, the Blackbird and the Wattlebirds have all now learnt to associate me out watering with a wet foliage cool off. The honeyeaters will actually make a fuss until I wet the bamboo down to make a cool and safe retreat then happily make use of it regardless of how close I am.  :-) I suspect they may nest in the bamboo next year as its big enough to be a stable thicket.

All of them love it when the old fashioned rain wave sprinkler is put on.

They all seem to be learning new tricks to cope with the extra heat … with a little help from their friends.

Cheers

Sue.

Thank you, Sue, for sharing your delight in the birds in your garden.

If any of my readers would like to also share their experiences with birds in gardens – or other places for that matter, please leave a comment here on this article, or any article for that matter. You never know – I may feature your experiences in an article so everyone can read it.

Below I have included a few photos of birds at our bird baths.

Good birding,

Trevor. 

Further reading:

  • Time for a bath – an article about birds and other animals which have visited our bird baths.

 

Spotted Turtledove

Spotted Turtledove

New Holland Honeyeater having a bath

New Holland Honeyeater having a bath

Brown Headed Honeyeaters

Brown Headed Honeyeaters

Give the birds a treat for Christmas

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

 

Merry Christmas Everyone

I wish all of my readers a very merry and blessed Christmas, wherever you are.

I would be really pleased to get greetings from you – just use the “comments” section above.

Birds in the hot Australian sun:

Many parts of Australia are in the grips of an early, very hot summer, and this is especially so here in South Australia. Our capital city of Adelaide last week had a record December heatwave for over a hundred years with a string of 4 days over 40C. Yesterday was another very hot day at around 37C and today, Christmas Day, the forecast is for 38C. This will make it the hottest Christmas Day since 1945.

During hot conditions like these our birds suffer terribly. All of my Australian readers – and readers everywhere suffering in the hot, summer sun – I would like to encourage to buy a bird bath for their garden. Even putting a few old bowls or dishes of water around the garden is better than nothing.

We have had three bird baths strategically placed in our garden for many years. These have been placed so that we can watch from the room which we use the most. Many of the photos which I have used on this site were taken from that room, including that of a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater shown above, and taken in the heatwave last week..

Two days ago our daughter arrived home for the Christmas break and doubled our number of bird baths. Our children have given us three new bird baths. I hope this doubles the number of photos I can take!

I hope that you have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Trevor

Further reading:

White-browed Woodswallow (L), Magpie Lark (centre), Brown-headed Honeyeater (R)

White-browed Woodswallow (L), Magpie Lark (centre), Brown-headed Honeyeater (R)

A close encounter

White -plumed Honeyeater at our bird bath

White -plumed Honeyeater at our bird bath

Quite frequently I have close encounters with our bird life, especially those which are resident in our garden and on our five acre block on the outskirts of Murray Bridge in South Australia. Sometimes I have the camera with me, sometimes I have to race off and get the camera. And then… there are those occasions when the bird flies off immediately.

Yesterday morning I was just finishing having breakfast, reading the daily paper and doing the cryptic crossword (yes, I solved it). I just looked up to check the bird bath – the one shown in the photo above – when a White-plumed Honeyeater landed on the window sill less than 50cm from where it was sitting. After staying for all of 5 seconds it flew off. No time to get the camera.

Then this morning the same thing happened, but this time a small movement on my part sent the bird flying off without actually landing.

Mmm… that makes me think. I wonder if this particular bird is coming to the window on a regular basis? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was coming to snaffle an insect or a spider lurking around the window frame. Or perhaps it was after some spider’s web to softly line a new nest?

(Embarrassed silence.)

I probably – no definitely – need to clear all the spiders’ webs around the house – but then, I am trying to be ‘bird friendly’. (Notice how I neatly side-stepped doing some house maintenance?)

For more articles about my close encounters with birds click here.

I have included a few more photos of close encounters with birds below.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

IMG_5848

Crested Pigeon

Sacred Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher