Last year I joined a tour of the courtyard gardens of Parliament house. The gardens themselves, with careful planning and natural protection from frost and wind are absolutely stunning in spring. (More on these gardens in spring)
While we walked around I couldn’t help noticing just how many currawongs and magpies were flying around the gardens.
To add to the mix, there were also Bogong moths who have long been attracted to the lights of Canberra. Their natural lifecycle is to breed in the plains of Southern Queensland, western NSW and Victoria, and in spring, they migrate south to cooler alpine areas…
…….but along the way they are drawn to Canberra, and…. what could be a greater magnet for a moth than the flagpole of Parliament House, and the surrounding light?
In 2013 we had warmer spring weather and strong winds, and these conditions brought the moths to Canberra unseasonably early and in greater numbers.
The moths, can cause havoc in and out of Parliament House…….they regularly set off fire alarms, block air-conditioning units, get entangled in people’s hair, clothing, rubbish bins, even landing in lunches and cups of tea and coffee.
A sign on one of the office doors within Parliament House is an example of frustrated (yet tolerant). public servants….
If you can read this sign, you are not a moth and you are welcome to come in. Well-mannered moth eating birds are also welcome.
The rich pickings in the lush courtyard gardens and the large juicy moths must be sheer heaven for currawongs and magpies. I was told that a currawong, in an attempt to catch it’s prey, flew into the building after a moth, gobbled it down and then flew off down the corridors towards the Senate chamber.
There is something endearingly Australian about a currawong flying down the corridor to the Senate chamber.
I don’t know if the Currawong made it to the Senate, but with all this wildlife in and around Parliament House I believe the moths had one positive influence…the flag pole light has been replaced with led lights…..less moths, and a wonderful energy saver for us all!