Wildlife Visitors in May 2018

May was a busy month for me as I had a lot going on, so I didn’t get as much opportunity to take photos of the visiting wildlife like usual. So here is a short list of some of my backyard visitors.

Kookaburra
Ladybird
European Honey Bee
Type of grasshopper
A type of moth
Hoverfly
A type of moth
A type of fly
Grey Butcherbird

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

This is my last Wildlife Wednesday post for awhile, and I won’t be posting as often as I usually do for a bit. Due to a significant change in my personal circumstances, I have left the Gold Coast in Queensland and moved permanently to Launceston in Tasmania. I am starting a new life on my own here in Tassie so please bear with me while I settle in to a new job and new surroundings, and I hope to be back online regularly soon posting my wildlife experiences in Tasmania.

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in March 2018

Some welcome rain in March (but maybe a little bit too much!) made for a very tropical climate for the beginning of autumn. There was plenty of wildlife around plus I also had the opportunity to capture some bird audio recordings which might be of interest to my overseas readers.

One morning, a couple of sulphur crested cockatoos dropped by to be annoying as they were screeching and carrying on as they do. This is the only one that sat still for a minute before taking off with the others and leaving us all in peace.

The eastern water dragon isn’t seen as often now, but here he is basking in the late afternoon sun.

The kookaburra family is often seen in the surrounding gum trees or perched on my veranda. The baby kookaburra is on the far right of the photo and it’s getting harder to tell the difference between them all now. (I think the one on the far left is having a bad hair day!)

I’ve seen more and more of the lovely grey butcherbirds and regularly hear their melody during the day.

Here is just a snapshot of some of its calls:

 

I am still visited by the grey butcherbird’s nemesis, the pied butcherbirds, who also have a lovely repertoire.

Pied Butcherbird

Here’s just a sample of their song:

 

And here’s a quick snippet of another of the pied butcherbird’s song, this one near the end sounds like the bit in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind when they are playing the musical notes with the alien ship. 😀

 

The pied currawong is one of my favourite birds. This is the male of the adult pair that live around my home.

Pied Currawong

I love the different calls of this bird and I managed to capture them calling just on dusk one day.

 

This is a noisy miner, a very common bird and a nuisance a lot of the time. Small and gregarious, these birds often gang up on other birds.

Noisy Miner

I got this recording when there were about 8 of these birds in a tree carrying on about something.

 

Here’s my magpie family, Maggie on the left and one of her juveniles on the right.

The carrolling of the magpie has to be one of the most recognised bird calls of Australia.

 

Hope you enjoyed seeing (and hearing) some of my backyard wildlife visitors.

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in February 2018

cane toad

Welcome to another monthly round up of wildlife visitors in my backyard, and this time there was a bit more variety other than just birds coming to visit.

It was lovely to see the bright colourful rainbow lorikeets dropping by. They didn’t visit very often as there were plenty of flowers around for them.

rainbow lorikeets feeding

A few times I managed to spy these lovely little scaly breasted lorikeets, finishing up the leftovers after the rainbow loris.

scaly breasted lorikeets

Do you remember the baby kookaburra we have visiting with his parents? Here he is all grown up now.

kookaburra

This pied currawong is a young adult looking for a new territory to call its own. He has been turning up a number of times but my regular pair of pied currawongs come out of nowhere bellowing an alarm call and chase him away.

pied currawong

And this is one mean looking torresian crow!

torresian crow

We had a fair amount of rain at the end of February, making it a very hot, humid and tropical end to the summer, and as a result we had two rather unwelcome visitors.

The first was this carpet python. He was about 6 feet long and it seemed that he had come onto the veranda out of the deluge that night. Unfortunately he was only a few feet from our door, so we had to move him along and away from the house. He wasn’t very happy about being made to go back in the rain and he was quite stubborn about the whole thing!

carpet pythonThe other unwelcome visitor was this cane toad, and unfortunately he wasn’t the only one around. This is a highly invasive species and very toxic.

cane toad

My last visitors were, of course, the brushtail possums.  You may recall I previously shared a video of Chloe with her little joey who are living in the possum box in the laundry. Well, here is a  more recent video of them.

And last time, Sassy had a little joey leg sticking out of her pouch, well here she is with the little one now a backrider. Unfortunately, another possum arrived and scared them off.

And finally, I just had to include these photos of the pretty colours of my frangipani flowers that are out. They smell divine!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Did you notice the tiny spider photobombing my picture of the flowers with a pink tinge? 😀 (Bottom left flower hiding behind a petal).

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

Wildlife Visitors in January 2018

male eastern water dragon red chest

January was a busy month for me as I was taking on extra work on weekends, but I still managed to see plenty of wildlife visitors in my backyard, some of which are featured here.

The kookaburra family only has one baby this year, and they have been visiting quite a lot. Here’s a photo of the baby (not so little anymore!) with one of the parents on the left.

kookaburras in a gum tree

Here it is again looking very hungry.

kookaburras in a gum treeI was fortunate one day to see the young one being fed a mouse, so if you would like to see pictures click here and if you would like to see the young kookaburra eating some leftover prawns I had one day click here.

The backyard was also a abuzz with the arrival of some blue faced honeyeaters. Apparently they like the flowers on the banana tree.

The rainbow lorikeets have increased in numbers again, possibly food was getting scarce since we only had the briefest drop of rain all month. And they have been cooling off in our roof guttering again. I think the water is cool because it’s run off from the air conditioner, and as you can see in the video below, they are thoroughly enjoying themselves!

I also got to see more of the eastern water dragon. Late one afternoon I spied him warming himself on the concrete, his big red chest on display. Doesn’t he look magnificent?!

male eastern water dragon red chestThis guy also turned up unexpectedly one day to eat some leftover prawns along with the kookaburras, click here to see pictures.

A visitor we don’t see very often was this big guy – a goanna, or lace monitor, as it’s also known.

goanna lace monitor in treeThis goanna caused quite a stir when he made an appearance. You can see more photos and video in my earlier post here.

My little posse of possums seems to be ever growing. This photo is of Sassy (the one who has her tongue sticking out all the time) and she has a joey as you can see.

Sassy munching food on the roof. You can just see a joey’s leg sticking out of the pouch.

And this is no kookaburra hanging out in the kookaburra nesting box, but at least it’s being used!

possum in kookaburra nesting box

This is newcomer Minnie and she has an older joey with her. But the young one must be quite a handful because most nights there is such a loud screeching coming from the box. I went out with a torch one night to investigate in case there was an unwelcome visitor causing trouble, but it was just Minnie screaming at her joey in the box. Maybe she’d had enough of his whining to go out and play and sent him to the naughty corner.

And this possum was too far away to tell who it was.

brushtail possum in box

brushtail possum in box

But he or she likes their new home.

And lastly, I’d like to share a few short clips of one of my favourite possums, Chloe, who has a young joey. In my last monthly wildlife round up post I shared some images of the glimpses I got of the tiny joey, well, now it has grown. Here they both are on 6th January –

Isn’t that little one adorable? It’s so young it doesn’t even resemble mum yet!

And here they are on 28th January –

You can see that the joey has more fur on and actually looks like a possum now. It’s also starting to investigate its surroundings, from the safety of mum’s back of course!

 

Thanks for reading about my backyard wildlife visitors! 🙂

This is my participation in a monthly event called Wildlife Wednesdays hosted by Tina of My Gardner Says… You can see the wildlife visitors of other participants here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Hungry Baby Kookaburra

Warning – this post may be squeamish for some readers.

For the second year running, a pair of kookaburras have brought their young to show us, although there is only one baby this time around.

Adult kookaburra on the left with a juvenile.

A few days ago I heard the baby kookaburra begging for food in the gum tree by the house and I went out to watch. One of the parents killed a mouse somewhere and brought it to the baby for its evening meal.

The young kookie looked quite happy about it!

Then it sat there on the branch for a minute or so juggling the mouse around in its beak.Then all of a sudden, in one quick movement, down it went!

The young bird seemed quite satisfied.

And then started begging for food again! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

To Feed Or Not To Feed Backyard Wildlife

Feeding backyard wildlife is a worldwide phenomenon – people feed squirrels in backyards in Canada, hedgehogs in England, raccoons in the USA, and possums in Australia.

Whether or not people should feed wildlife in their backyards is a controversial topic and a very complex one.

Here are my thoughts on both the for and against sides of the argument for feeding backyard wildlife visitors. I have based this on my own opinions, experiences, and from reading about the subject on the internet.

So why do people feed wild animals in their backyard?

A common reason is that feeding wild animals makes a person feel good. People feel they are helping the animals survive by providing extra food. People also feel guilty for the urbanisation of the natural habitat and feel they are giving something back to the animals by feeding them.

Feeding wild animals in the backyard can also break down barriers of isolation for those people who may be housebound and lacking social contact. It makes these people feel needed and useful and they can form bonds with the animals.

Feeding wildlife in your backyard is an enjoyable experience as it makes a person feel more connected to nature and can also provide the opportunity for close interaction with wildlife.

Other reasons for feeding wildlife in backyards include for entertainment purposes, filming and photography opportunities, and education as it allows the observation of the behaviour of wild animals up close and people can learn to identify the different birds and animals.

So why are some people so against feeding wildlife in backyards?

It seems that the main points of contention that cause passionate debate are –

  1. feeding wildlife causes them to lose their fear of people; and
  2. feeding wildlife causes them to become dependent on humans

It is also thought that feeding backyard wildlife could bring about changes in the eco system because the dominant species would restrict the feeding and territory of wildlife that are timid.

And it is also reasoned that visiting wildlife leave behind a mess that could bring vermin or spread disease if leftover feed isn’t disposed of and if the feeding stations are not properly cleaned.

People are also concerned about birds and animals becoming aggressive towards humans over food. (Remember those annoying seagulls at the beach demanding your hot chips?)

 

Common sense approach

As far as I am aware, Australia has no laws regulating the feeding of backyard wildlife (feeding wild animals in national parks, forests, parklands, and public spaces or for tourism purposes may be a different story). I don’t know if it’s the same across other countries.

If you want to feed visiting wildlife in your backyard, use your common sense and consider the cases for and against it. Be responsible in your actions and be aware of any consequences of what you do.

If you love animals and want to have them visit you and maybe even befriend them and hand feed them, the last thing you would want to do is something that would be detrimental to them or put them in any danger.

The most important thing to remember is that the well being of the animal is paramount.

Here are my Dos and Don’ts of feeding backyard wildlife

DON’TS
• DO NOT overfeed
• DO NOT feed wildlife junk food or processed food that is for human consumption (this includes BREAD!)
• DO NOT put food, water or shelter for wildlife near pet areas or close to neighbours
• DO NOT feed wildlife if you are not prepared to clean up after them
• DO NOT feed wildlife if you do not want your garden or yard scratched and dug up; or to be woken at the crack of dawn by hungry mouths; or woken during the night by rampaging possums on your roof

DOS
• DO check your local council and state government for any restrictions or laws regulating the feeding of wildlife in backyards
• DO research your wildlife visitors so you know who you are dealing with (do a Google search or refer to your local wildlife care groups)
• DO plant native shrubs and trees for natural sources of food and shelter that will attract local wildlife (your local garden nursery will be happy to help you with this)
• DO leave out a fresh water source (bird bath, pond, water dish)
• DO consider your neighbours
• DO clean feeders and water dishes thoroughly and regularly to help avoid any bacterial contamination and possible spread of disease
• DO feed wildlife proper supplemental food eg Womberoo brand (enquire with your local wildlife care group or vet)
• DO feed wildlife intermittently

Conclusion

Perhaps in the future there should be definitive research into this common pastime that nearly half the country’s (and maybe the world’s) population participates in to some extent. Maybe then we will have clear answers and guidelines to follow or even laws to be enforced which will benefit not just the wildlife but the people as well.

As for me, well, yes, I do feed my backyard wildlife visitors, as you can see by my videos and photos included in this post, but I do not feed all of them and not all the time. I have found that the possums I feed can still be seen eating the native flowers and leaves in the trees at night, and the birds I feed can still be seen foraging for food and even with their caught prey (in the case of the meat eaters).  I’m sure the birds and animals will survive fine without me feeding them, but I do it anyway. Why? Because it feels good and I like to make that connection with nature.

If you decide to feed your backyard wildlife visitors, I hope this post has given you some food for thought and some tips on how to feed wild animals in your backyard safely and responsibly.

 

 

Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree

kookaburra sits in the old gum tree

kookaburra sits in the old gum tree

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, kookaburra, laugh, kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop kookaburra, stop kookaburra
Save some there for me!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Stop kookaburra, stop kookaburra.
That’s not a monkey, that’s me!

 

I bet you couldn’t read that without singing! 😀

Who remembers that song from when they were a kid at school? I certainly do!

The lyrics for “Kookaburra” were written by Marian Sinclair in 1934.  Marian entered the song in a Girl Guides competition for best typical Aussie “round” and won. The catchy song quickly spread and gained popularity worldwide.

If the song is unfamiliar to you, check out this YouTube video.

Now I won’t be able to get that tune out of my head all day!! 😀