Birds in a winter Canberra garden…


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It is always a delight to see birds like the Eastern Spinebill in the garden. They are the smallest of the Honeyeaters in Australia and a treat to watch.

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We have planted more and more Pineapple Sage near the deck in our back garden, and this year the flowers lasted well into winter.

Now we can hear the strong call of the Eastern Spinebills on a winter morning…they are very welcome!

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The Canberra Ornithologists Group has a useful and easy to read book called ”Birds of Canberra Gardens”. It has beautiful photos of all the birds in this area.

IMG_4293 (1024x834)The bird on the front cover is a Gang Gang Cockatoo, and it is my dream to get a photo of one of these parrots one day!

Paul took this lovely photo of our resident male Superb Fairy Wren….. isn’t he a charmer?

The Superb Fairy Wren is a local species of Fairy Wren, and has adapted well to Canberra conditions.

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The Pied Currawong is also very common in the Canberra region. They are magnificent flyers, and can fly across the garden in a few graceful sweeps and land on a tiny branch or wire.

Pied Currawong (C) Harry Charalambous 2014
Pied Currawong (C) Harry Charalambous 2014

They are efficient and intelligent predators for the little birds gathering in our garden. Over time, Paul and the currawongs have reached a truce;  they have strictly flying rights only over the garden…no settling into bushes and on wires to watch and hunt little birds. We live near Mt Taylor where they can hunt in their natural environment.

Grey Currawong (C) William Betts 2015

However, while we were on holiday the Currawongs enjoyed the lack of supervision, and had a touch of Oppositional Defiance Disorder when we got home. This is a well used photo I know, but so expressive!

The Crested Pigeons are found in most gardens in Canberra….they seem to love sitting on the overhead wires of gardens, huddled together in winter

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Baby its cold outside..

….are they on the alert for predators? Not in Canberra I suspect..

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The description of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in the Birds of Canberra book begins

..”they are very conspicuous, noisy and gregarious birds commonly seen in Canberra gardens…. ”

What a perfect description of these birds!

One of our resident Cockatoos was sitting on the carport roof waiting to greet us when we got back from Italy.

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”Oh Hi! You’re back…..just let me finish eating the almonds and I’ll show you what we’ve done in the front garden

”We’ve stripped the Iron Bark Eucalypt of almost all its flowers….the nectar was nice..”

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and the whole street is littered with small branches…it looks as if a shredding machine has been through the street….

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Canberra’s suburban streets are lined with corridors of natural bushland and so the Cockatoos and other wild birds have a choice of homes

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This hollow has been a nesting place for young cockatoos over the years…

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Australian Magpies are described as;

”boldly marked, confiding and abundant, one of Australia’s best known birds. They feed on  insects and other invertebrates on lawns and open ground, and may become tame if fed.

Here is one of our local Magpies….the water baby, regardless of the weather!

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Look at this industrious Magpie…is she collecting bits for a nest already? In mid-July?

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In spring I hope to bring you more photos of some of the many birds in Canberra gardens.

…… in the meanwhile, enjoy the birds in your neighbourhood where ever you live.

Copyright Geraldine  Mackey. All rights reserved






24 Replies to “Birds in a winter Canberra garden…”

    1. Thanks, we try to keep it peaceful for them. Hopefully you are still getting the little birds to your birdbath? Anyway, we are lucky to live where birds are wild and free.

  1. Our European Magpies also start nesting very early, I think they have three broods a year, which accounts for the fact that there are far, far too many of them!

    1. The crested pigeons are the ones here that breed all year long it seems…and, yes, it is not good to have too many of one species. I must look up the European magpie.

    1. Glad you liked it Sandra, you would know all about Cockatoos and Currawongs….birds are just like people in some ways!!

  2. Welcome home! This post is so educational! The Spinebill reminds me of our Carolina Wren, precocious and a delight in the gardens. I love to see the cockatoos in the wild, as thinking of these fine creatures in cages breaks my heart, although perhaps they should munch in other’s gardens, yes?

    As Virginia endures 90+F and high humidity, I wish you a wonderful, peaceful winter…send some cool breezes. Diane

    1. Thank you, it is good to be home! Glad you enjoyed the post on birds, and I’ll look up the Carolina Wren. And yes, I would hate to see the Cockatoos in cages too. Your temperatures have just reminded me of the awful heat of summer and humidity is the worst part. I guess it is too hot to garden until autumn now?

    1. Thanks Judy, glad you liked the birds, and they certainly give us plenty of entertainment over winter. (well, all year really). The binoculars look great but the lens (or something) is too small, can’t see a thing out of them, so they are all for show!

  3. I loved seeing all your birds, especially the Fairy Wren. She has such lovely colours.
    I have been feeding birds for a while now and have so many visiting my old cherry tree now that I can’t keep up with sunflower seeds.

    1. Yes, the birds soon arrive when there are sunflower seeds around! I never get tired of watching birds in the garden, and seeing the Fairy Wren is a real treat.

  4. You really have some gorgeous visitors to your garden, Gerrie. Som of them have very interesting hairdos. 🙂 The Fairy Wren is so exquisite. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

  5. GREAT pictures! I love the pied currawong, with its light blue patches. The cockatoos are also wonderful. Hard to think of such birds as common.

    1. Yes, the pied currawong is amazing to watch…like a fighter pilot in the sky. And yes, it is very hard not to love the cockatoo, we are lucky to have them visiting the garden regularly.

  6. What a lovely variety of visitors to your garden, Gerrie. Most of these birds I have seen in Tassie but not the spine bill. Thanks for sharing them.

  7. What a fabulous array of birds! I enjoyed them all. That little fairy wren is just exquisite! I haven’t come across that bird before. I was hypnotised by the eye of the pied currawong!
    You do have some incredible birds, and I bet you wouldn’t be without any of them, damage or not!xxx

    1. We absolutely love our bird life and consider it a compliment when they all drop in for a visit and a birdbath drink.

    1. There was a very noisy bird in Cape Town when we were there a few years ago, Hadedas….I thought people were very tolerant as they seemed to do a lot of screeching as they settle down at night.

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