One of my favourite Australian birds has to be the Peaceful Dove, shown in today’s photos. I meant to show these shots a few weeks ago when I took then, but somehow life got in the way. The photos shown today are of a solitary bird in our garden one morning. It looked like it was going to visit the nearby bird bath. Instead, it found a sunny spot to settle down for at least ten minutes – enough time for me to go to the other end of the house to collect my camera.
The Peaceful Dove is one of my favourite birds because they are quiet, gentle looking birds which come regularly into our garden. We frequently hear them calling their soft ‘toodle-doo” call, and they make no fuss at all as they flutter from tree to tree. The markings on their plumage shows delightful patterns and soft, pastel colours. Today’s photos show the colours well, lit up by the early morning sunshine.
As an extra comment on this species, I didn’t fully appreciate the beautiful blue skin around the eyes and beak. This shows up really well in today’s shots.
This morning I had a small birding accident. I didn’t hurt myself – or anyone or anything else. This week the forecast is for severe hot weather after a prolonged period of mild weather, so I decided before breakfast that our bird baths should be replenished every morning. The resident birds sure appreciate the fresh water every day.
I filled a handy bucket from the rainwater tap – I prefer to treat them to rainwater rather than tap water – and trundled outside into the garden. As I carried the very full bucket of water I stepped off the veranda and… disaster! The cheap plastic bucket shattered into about a dozen pieces and water splashed all over my shoes, socks, and legs. The bucket – what was left of it – was immediately thrown in the rubbish bin and another one fetched and filled from the tap over the laundry tub. This time the water reached its destination without further incident.
My efforts were rewarded about an hour later. While reading the paper at the table in our sun room two birds flew in to have a drink and a bath. One was a Mallee Ringneck and the other an Eastern Rosella (see photo above) Strangely, these two birds have been seen together in our garden on many occasions over the last few years. Eastern rosellas are not common in this area.
A few days ago I wrote excitedly about the increase in Superb Fairy-wrens in our garden. The numbers have risen steadily in recent years. At first we only had two, a male and a female. Later this became three, then four and soon five.
Now I have counted SIX individuals. Two days ago they all came hopping along through our garden, feeding as they came. Most of them stopped for a drink at the bird bath, and several had a quick dip. I did a quick count – and a recount to be sure. Yes – there were six of them, one in male plumage and the rest were the plain brown of the females or young males. I can never work out the different between the females and the young males.
I have observed that several of them are displaying begging behaviour, so it seems that a number of the uncoloured birds are actually recently fledged. That’s good news; it proves successful recent breeding attempts. It also bodes well for the future of this small but steadily growing population. They are quite the lovely little family group, adding much colour and character to our garden.
Most mornings we have breakfast in our sun room overlooking our garden and several bird baths all within five metres of where we sit. Quite a few of the photos I have shared here over the years were taken from that very spot. After breakfast I usually read the daily paper and attempt the various puzzles as time and patience allow.
Yesterday I looked up from my paper to see our little family of Superb Fairy-wrens coming in for a drink and a short splash in the water. As I watched I did a quick count – and then an excited double check. We now have five wrens in our garden. They have either been joined by another, or have been successful in breeding this summer. One of them was begging from the coloured male, so I lean towards a happy nesting event recently.
This little troupe of birds has grown steadily in numbers over the last three years. I had recorded this species in our garden over twenty years ago and then they disappeared until three years ago. I suspect the many feral cats in the district are to blame.
On our arrival home after an overseas trip in the middle of January three years ago we were delighted that a coloured male and a female had taken up residence in our absence. Several family groups have always been present up the hill from home in some bushland about a kilometre away.
For some months we saw just the two of them. Later that year we saw three together on many occasions, and the next year there were four – and now we see five together. We are delighted to see and hear them in our garden on most days and pleased that they consider our garden a suitable habitat in which to reside and breed.
I am not showing any new photos today because I didn’t take any on this occasion. Instead, I have listed below some links to previous articles with photos of wrens for you to look at.
- Great birding moments #35 – Superb Fairy-wren
- Great birding moments #34
- Wrens at the birdbath
- Our wrens are back
- Beautiful Superb Fairy-wren
- Great birding moments #21 Splendid Wren
Summer has arrived here in South Australia. Already during spring we have had many days with temperatures over 30C (86F) and the forecast is for a hot, dry summer. In my home town of Murray Bridge we frequently get days over 40C (104F) and occasionally the thermometer soars to as high as 46C (115F).
Whatever the temperature in summer our birds often suffer from the extreme heat and hot searing north winds. On days of high temperature there is a constant stream of birds visiting our bird baths in our garden. They not only appreciate a drink, they often take a dip as well. On days of extreme heat their very survival depends on having access to water. The death rate during hot weather would be very high.
My advice would be to put out some dishes of water, or invest in a birdbath; there are many different styles available so check out your local garden centre or pet shop. Check the birdbaths every morning, replenishing the water as necessary. And don’t forget to scrub it clean once a week (but don’t use any detergent or other cleaning agents – just a brush will do).
Keep the water coming – your garden birds will love you – and keep coming back again and again.
See more photos here.