I have a confession to make.
I have just informed my wife that I insist on doing the clothes washing.
Reluctantly she has agreed to my request. My reason is simple; many times in recent years I have had some wonderful birding experiences while hanging out the washing on the clothes line – or bringing in the dry clothes. My eyes are always gazing upwards when doing this easy household chore and I have seen some great birds during this activity. Perhaps the most stunning was seeing a Peregrine falcon at top speed heading for what I think were some pigeons. Whoosh!
Adding to the birding dimension is the fact that our clothes-line is surrounded by trees and low to medium Australian Native plants (see me wife’s site here), so there is always some bird activity all around me. Distractions are common!
My latest Great Birding Moment happened yesterday while taking in the washing. I had almost finished and a female Superb Fairy-wren landed on the clothes-line next to me. As it cheerily chattered to me I could have reached out and patted it. It stayed there calling quietly to me for nearly a minute – a whole magical minute!
I felt so privileged – and truly blessed.
- Great Birding Moments #1-35 The above article is one of a series of articles along a similar theme.
Two days ago I wrote about the birds we saw at the hippo enclosure when we visited the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo recently. One species I didn’t mention was the Superb Fairy-wren because I wanted it to have its own post. Today’s photos feature a male bird in full breeding plumage plus one shot of a female (see below).
There were several birds, both male and female, hopping around the viewing platform at the hippo enclosure. I tried hard to get a few photos but they were constantly on the move. This is typical of this species; it makes effective photography a real challenge.
As we returned to our car – the open range zoo is a “drive yourself” experience – a male Superb Fairy-wren was fluttering around the car next to ours. The photo above shows him on the roo bar at the front of the vehicle. He was very agitated and ignored me only a metre or so away from him. He then flew many times at his reflection in the car’s window (see photo below).
A number of Australian bird species display this aggressive behaviour. Thinking that their reflection is an enemy attempting to take over its territory, the male bird will attack its own image many dozens of times. Not only do they attack the reflection in the windows of a car, they can also be attracted to the outside mirrors, shiny hub-caps, shiny bumper-bars and any reflective surface. A few years ago our resident Willie Wagtail was attracted to the mirrors on our car. Day after day for periods up to a half hour it would attack the mirror, leaving a very unpleasant residue on each mirror in the process.
Some of the species which display this behaviour include Australian Magpies, Willie Wagtails, Magpie Larks, finches, honeyeaters, and ravens and crows. A few years ago we had a Little Raven in our garden which was annoyed by its reflection in our bedroom window glass. Every morning around dawn it would come and peck loudly on the glass. Being suddenly woken in this fashion at such an early hour was not very pleasant, and we were pleased when it moved on and no longer came knocking well before our normal time of rising.
This post is #34 of a series called Great Birding Moments. I think the title is self explanatory. Sadly, it is over six years since the last in this series, so I think I will have to rectify that in the coming months. You can access a list of the articles by clicking here.