Real World Gardener Gouldian Finch in Wildlife in Focus

July 2nd, 2020

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Common Name: Gouldian Finch

Scientific Name: Erytrura gouldiae

Named after renowned British ornothological artist John Gould.
This next bird is one of the prettiest Australian birds but it is endangered. 
It’s very small and would fit into your hand weighing only 14 grams. 
As with most birds of this type (finches, the Gouldian) it’s a quiet enough bird that peeps and sings a little. 

They make a pleasant sound that is doubtful to wake you up or create a problem with neighbours, though it is persistent. Gouldian%2Bfinch.jpg
I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons of www.birdsinbackyards.net.au 
Let’s find out about it. 

Gouldian finch are also known as Goulds, Lady Gouldian and rainbow finch in other parts of the world are Holly’s opinion, one of the most beautiful birds in Australia.

Most one known as a pet for aviaries. 
erytrura-gouldiae2.jpgBeautifully coloured birds with a green back, purple chest and yellow side feathers, but
25% of the population has a red face, 74% have a black face and about 1% have a yellow face.
Young birds are surprisingly  dull brown coloured and become vibrantly coloured as they mature.
In the wild they are found along creek lines, and mangroves. 
Partially migratory, and usually quiet. 
Outside the breeding season, they move closer to the coast, but once breeding starts they move inland.
They nest in hollows in trees and termite mounds.
If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Creating a Bird Friendly Garden in Design Elements

April 23rd, 2020

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Building A Bird Friendly Garden

Wildlife in Australia has taken a massive hit with bushfires, then torrential rain that in some cases resulted in flooding. 
Are you wondering where have all the birds gone in your garden ?

Or perhaps you have some of the more aggressive birds like Indian Mynah or Currawongs and want to know how to attract those smaller birds.
How can you help the birdlife in your garden?

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Superb Fairy Wren

Perhaps start by thinking about creating an oasis, but there’s some essential steps that need to be observed first. 
Let’s find out . 
I'm talking with Glenice Buck, consulting arborist and landscape designer www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au 
PLAY: Building a bird friendly garden_8th April 2020 

If you provide your birds in your local area with a source of food, shelter and water, and that should help with not only supporting them, but letting you enjoy more of their presence. 

  • Glenice points out that you need to plant in layers.
  • This includes the canopy layer or larger trees, the shrub layer, then groundcovers and finally the leaf litter layer.
You may have noticed when you are walking in your district, where the smaller birds congregate.
This will give you some idea of the kind of habitat that they prefer.
You don't necessarily have to plant the same as in the bushland are nature reserves, because some might be weeds.

Grevillea_Scarlet_Sprite.jpg
Grevillea Scarlet Sprite
For example, fairy wrens love to dart in and out of lantana bushes that are growing along a path under the Gladesville bridge in Sydney.
Instead, plant the type of style of bushes that these birds prefer; a shrub with dense foliage to the ground, such as Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite,' or "Firesprite.' There's also a range of Callistemons or bottlebrushes that attract a variety including fairy wrens.
  • Think about plants that flower at different times of the year so that you've got a food source all year round in your garden.

If you have any questions of course, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Rufous Bristlebird on Wildlife in Focus

September 26th, 2019

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Rufous BristleBird

Did you know that Australia has ground dwelling birds other than emus, brush turkeys, and Cassowary?

Out of all those birds I just mentioned, gardeners might prefer the Rufous Bristlebird digging around in their garden. 

Rufous%2BBristlebird.jpg

Rufous Birstlebird

Do you know why it's called a bristlebird?

Let’s find out.

 

The Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyorni Broadbenti) is only found in Australia and mainly along coastal areas in south-western Victoria.

Bristlebirds are generally shy birds that skulk in dense vegetation during the day. They prefer to run away to avoid danger, but are capable of flying short distances. Bit like the brush turkey.

Usually they hang around in pairs 

The common name of the family is derived from the presence of prominent rictal bristles - three stiff, hair-like feathers curving downwards on either side of the gape.

As with fantails and flycatchers, their bristles assist in catching insects.

Bristlebirds have previously been seen in south-western Western Australia and south-eastern South Australia, but unfortunately frequent burning has led to their extinction in W.A.

Have you seen a Rufous Bristlebird?

If you have any questions for me or for Holly, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Jacky Winter in Wildlife in Focus

August 28th, 2019

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Jacky Winter:Microeca fascinans

If someone asked you what bird sings loudly from high trees that sounds like a whistling call "chwit-chwit-chwit-queeter-queeter-queeter", would you hazard a guess or be completely in the dark? 
This bird happens to be Jacky Winter and is almost sparrow like in its appearance, weighing only 15 grams.

Jacky%2BWinter%2B1.jpg
Jacky Winter

Let’s find out more? 
I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from www.birdsinbackyards.org.au 

Native to Australia, Jacky Winter is widespread in open woodland , preferring bare ground, rural towns and peri-urban areas.

An insect eating bird that dars out from its perch onto open ground but then flies back to that same perch or perhaps another nearby.
Very acrobat in the way they chase their insect prey.
Jacky Winter builds a cup shaped nest which is often positioned on a dead branch so it blends in better.
Bird Calls:
Bird call recognition can be tricky, especially if there’s no chance of seeing the bird, but have no fear. 
There are apps for your mobile phone which allows you to record the call and it will identify it for you. 
There’s even one called Shazam. 
 If you have any questions for me or for Holly email us at rea.worldgardener@gmail.com.Or 
you can write in to 2RRR PO Box 644, Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Pretty Varied Triller in Wildlife in Focus

June 6th, 2019

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Varied Triller: Lalage leucomela

Today it’s a pretty looking bird that is Australian but with a French sounding scientific name.

Varied Triller's have a wide-ranging diet, about anything from fruits, to nectar, and insects.

Don’t be alarmed though, they go for the fruits of native figs and not your fruit trees in you backyard or orchard.

Varied_Triller_%2528Lalage_leucomela%252

Varied Triller

Let’s find out more.

 I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from www.birdsinbackyards.net

The varied triller is a small to medium, about the size of a noisy miner and weigh around 35grams.

The male is black on top, with white eyebrows and grey barring on the chest. The Females are similar to the males, but with a little bit more brown in their feathers.

Varied_Triller_%2528Lalage_leucomela%252

Lalage leucomela

Their call is a softish churring sound. Rather pleasant to listen to.

The Varied Triller builds a beautiful cup shaped nest held together with spider’s web and placed in the fork of a tree.

Sorry Tassie and Victoria, you miss out, but maybe when you’re travelling to other parts of Australia, you can listen out for them.

 

If you have any questions either for me or for Holly, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Beautiful Double Barred Finch in Wildlife in Focus

April 4th, 2019

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Double Barred Finch

Small birds are notoriously hard to identify because (a) they’re small, (b) they’re incredibly fast and shy and lastly, they’re usually just a variation on brown. 
Not so this next bird which has easily distinguished facial markings and is Perhaps you can spot one after listening to this. Described as having an owlish face, although in miniature, and with beautifully spotted wings.

Double%2BBarred%2BFinch.jpg

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from www.birdsinbackyards.net 
Let’s find out 
Incredibly gorgeous little bird with a striking white face.

Like a miniature barn owl because of the markings. 
For once, not just a little brown bird that's hard to identify; this one has distinctive features which apart from the white face, the barring on the feathers stands out also.

Prefer drier regions.

Hanging around in flocks you’re bound not to mistake them for something else because they would make a spectacular sight. 
If you have any questions either for me or for Holly, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener Beautiful Firetail Finch in Wildlife in Focus

February 17th, 2019

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Beautiful Firetail Finch: Stagonopleura bella

Over the years, Australian birds have featured on this program, but how good are we at identifying the calls?

It’s not that easy is it?

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Beautiful Firetail finch

What about placing a particular bird in the correct family of birds?

That should be easier so where do finches sit? Parrot family or Passerine?

Let’s find out . 

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from www.birdsinbackyards.net

 

Amazing to see in the wild, males and female Firetail Finches are similar, being small and chunky, with striking barring and a pale blue eye ring.

Let’s hope listeners that people don’t mistake them for mice scuttling about the long grass looking for grass seeds.

They also like the seeds of Casuarinas and Tea-Trees.

Can you imagine this little bird building an exact bottle shaped nest tipped on its side? 

The nest is built from grass and carefully woven by both of the birds.

Not found in urban settings that much, but in shrubby settings.

 

If you have any questions either for me or for Holly, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

VEGETABLE HEROES

Real World Gardener Satin Bower Bird in Wildlife in Focus

December 13th, 2018

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Satin Bower Bird

Listeners would probably have heard about the Satin Bowerbird with its glossy blue-back with a distinctly coloured eye.

You may not know though that it takes up to five years before the satin bower bird male develops that full glossy colour.

satin-bowerbird.jpg

Satin Bowerbird

Before that it's an olive green.

 Satin bower bird is a medium sized bird, similar in weight to a magpie and has good colour vision especially into the blue and ultra-violet spectrum. So why does it prefer the colour blue to adorn the bower? Is the bower also a nest?

I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from www.birdsinbackyards.net

Let’s find out .

PLAY : Satin Bower Bird 5th December 2018

Sorry for Tasmania and South Australia, because you guys are missing out on this rather unusual bird. 

The male builds that bower, a parallel row of sticks in a north south axis but that’s not where the eggs get laid, it just all about attracting the female with collected blue objects and a bit of dancing. 

The female bowerbird gives the bower a good look through several times before making up her mind up whether or not she wants to pair up with the male.

satin-bowerbird%2Bin%2Bbower.jpg

The bower of the satin bowerbird.

The female bowerbird does the nest building which is made up of loose twigs some 30 metres above the ground.

Just remember to snip the blue bottle tops before you throw them into the bin. If you have any questions, either for me or for Holly, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Easter Spinebill in Wildlife in Focus

October 12th, 2018

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Eastern Spinebill

Did you think all honeyeaters were on the large side in Australia?

Well if you did, you’ll be surprised to learn that there’s a tiny honey eater weighing only 11 grams.

Not only that, the Eastern Spinebill is the only Australian honeyeater that will feed will flying.

So how can you spot them because they’re bound to be terribly shy?

Firstly get up at the crack of dawn, when most birds are out and about then listen to what Holly has to say about them.

eastern%2Bspinebill%2Bin%2Bbottlebrush.j

 

Let’s find out more.

 

 I'm talking with Dr Holly Parsons from www.birdsinbackyards.net

America has the humming bird but Australia has the Eastern Spinebill which can hover will extracting nectar from flowers.

Not as spectacular as the hummingbirds, but pretty amazing all the same.

You can spot the eastern spinebill male has a grey black crown, white chest and throat with a rusty patch right in the middle, plus a beautifully curved beak to get the nectar from flowers, particularly tubular flowers.

Listen out for their call which as a few variations. Often though it includes a staccato like twittering.

If your garden is near bushland and you want to attract the eastern spinebill, then think about planting more of those tubular flowers like epacrids ( pictured below) and correas.

Epacris%2Bimpressa%2Bvar%2Bgrandiflora.j

Epacris impressa var, grandiflora

Also smaller flowering grevilleas like Grevillea sericea and Grevillea speciosa.

If you have any questions about beds either for me or for Holly why not email 

Real World Gardener Budgerigar in Wildlife in Focus

September 23rd, 2018

WILDLIFE IN FOCUS

Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus

If you’ve ever travelled overseas and visited Botanic gardens, often you’ll find that they have a section of what they call exotic plants and or wildlife.

Recently I saw such a place in Ukraine and was rather bemused see that they had quite a few Australian birds and reptiles.

budgie.jpg

 

Some of these birds are so colourful that no wonder the local population think that they’re amazing and so exotic.

Let’s find out about one of them.

Budgies are closely related to Lorikeets and Figbirds and occur naturally throughout much of mainland Australia.

The places that you won't find them are from the far south-west, the north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the majority of the east coast.

Did you know that Budgies come in more than 100 colours, including blue, grey, white, yellow and multicolour. The majority, however, are green, which appears to be their ‘it’ colour, in the wild?

Budgie2.jpg

 

Did you also know that Budgerigars are a boom or bust type of bird and with this current dry season, one can imagine that there would be quite a number of fatalities?

However, recent research from Curtin University have discovered the fact that, much like mammals, budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) have the ability to regulate the water they lose through their skin.

Their suggestion is that they can cope well in hot dry conditions.

The question is “but for how long.”

 

If you have any questions about Budgies of the bird kind either for me or for Holly, why not email realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

VEGETABLE HEROES

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