Close Encounters of the Bird Kind
The male Golden Whistler is one of Austrlai’s most stunningly beautiful birds. When sitting perched in the early morning sun the golden yellow feathers almost glow. The colour of the breast feathers shine like a beacon lighting up the sometimes drab mallee or woodland habitats in which it lives.
The whistlers can be quite confiding birds in a garden setting. Earlier this week, as we sat in the plant nursery having a well deserved cuppa, a female golden whistler came to visit us. Now the female is as drab as the male is colourful. Plain brown at first glance, and rarely worth a second look in the presence of her amazing mate. True, I always do try to get a second look – just to check out if it is a female Golden Whistler and not a female Rufous Whistler. Both are common in this part of Australia but fortunately easily identified. The female Rufous Whistler has a streaked front.
This individual allowed me to sneak closer and closer until I was about four metres away. Then I tried making kissing sounds and she became very curious. Eventually she came to within a metre of where I stood near a bush. Up close one is forced to overlook the apparent drabness of the female. She is, in fact, finely marked and just as beautiful, in her own right, as the male.
It was indeed a wonderful close encounter.
And of course – I didn’t have my camera with me. Still, I managed to get a reasonable photo of the female last week.
We later heard the male calling but he didn’t show himself.