Possum Screamfest

This is a video I took of some brushtail possums who live in my laundry. You will see a mother possum called Chloe and her joey, and there is also a smaller joey who was in the possum box on its own.

On this occasion, two joeys were screeching at each other, why, I’m not sure as I’ve never seen this before. Maybe they were two young males trying to assert their authority over the other, or perhaps they just liked to hear their own voices.

I took my cue from the mother possum who sat calmly eating some banana while this was all going on, seemingly ignoring the young ones carry-ons. Even so, I stood well back, not wanting to accidentally get in the middle of any fight that might develop.

Finally they noticed the banana that I was waving at them and the screeching suddenly stopped. I tossed up a few pieces of banana, then within seconds  this happened –

All is quiet once again. 🙂

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in April 2018

I was somewhat busier than normal in April so didn’t have as much opportunity to take many photos of the wildlife visitors, so I only have a few to share with you on this occasion.

Here are two sulphur crested cockatoos, eyeing me off and walking up and down the veranda, probably wanting to have a chew on the wooden railing when I’m not looking!

Two sulphur crested cockatoos up to no good

I saw quite a lot of these grey butcherbirds, which upset the pied butcherbirds so I was an audience a number of times for some aerial combat between the two species. Lots of noise and flicking of wings but I didn’t notice anyone actually getting hurt.

Grey butcherbird

There were so many rainbow lorikeets around, word must have got out about our feeding station.

Rainbow lorikeets
A loving pair

They would gather in growing numbers in the gum tree by the house squawking and carrying on and then continued the din while they ate up the feed in record time.

There was lots of nocturnal activity from the regular brushtail possum visitors. There was plenty of trampling along our roof, running up and down the veranda, screeching and hissing coming out of the darkness, and in the mornings tufts of possum fur would be seen.

Here’s one of the quieter times. I shot this quick video through a glass sliding door so as not to disturb them.

This is Sassy and her joey.

And here’s George in a gum tree (complete with a bush cockroach!).

And then Mummy possum came to visit. Mummy is the loveliest possum ever. Interestingly, she did not have a joey this year. She has to be at least 9 years old and maybe too old to breed now.

When I noticed her at the door, I tried to go out with some peanuts but she wouldn’t let me as she was after the food so I had to put the container in front of her and start to gently push her away from the door so I could get out.

And then our old cat Basil woke up and came over to see what was going on. The container of nuts was shoved outside real quick and the door closed!

When I put the cat away in a room and was able to get outside without letting the possum inside, I put some nuts out for her to eat and she let me pat her for a bit. She is such a gentle creature.

I hope you enjoyed seeing 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!

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Visitors in December 2017

December was a busy time leading up to Christmas, and it was hot, but I do have some wildlife visitors to share with you. And I am really excited to introduce you to several brand new visitors in my backyard! 🙂

The kookaburras have become regular visitors once again.

A pair of kookaburras

And here at long last, is my first glimpse of a baby kookie!

There have been plenty of noisy miners about, as usual. Here are some taking advantage of some lorikeet feed after the lorikeets flew off when they got scared.

Noisy miners

The pair of pied currawongs have been bringing up 2 young this time. This is one of them, still being fed by mum, but she’s now pecking them after she feeds them, maybe to start pushing them out on their own.

Juvenile pied currawong

Igor and Maggie, our local magpies, also have 2 babies who are growing up fast. Interestingly, one seems to be colouring up quicker than the other. They are starting to feed themselves now.

Juvenile magpie
Another juvenile magpie.

A few Torresian crows have started hanging around. This one was pretty hot, sitting in the gum tree with its beak open.

Adult Torresian crow

I’ve also seen several of these pretty pale headed rosellas.

Pale headed rosella

There have been lots of rainbow loirkeets around and I even managed to spy a baby lorikeet! What a racket they make! 😀

Baby rainbow lorikeet
The noisy little thing finally getting fed

Here are two pigeons taking a stroll around the lawn in front of the house after it was mowed. These are common bronzewing pigeons. They may be the most common pigeon seen in Australia, although I don’t recall having ever seen them before, but they are first time visitors to my backyard!

Common bronzewing pigeons

One early morning I was sitting on the veranda and above the bird chatter I heard a new birdcall. I set a recorder for a few minutes and have edited it so you can hear the call 4 times.

 

I’m pretty sure that bird sounds like an eastern whipbird. They are found along the east coast but I have never heard one in my backyard ever! I wasn’t able to see it or get a picture of it, but here’s what it looks like (photo taken from Birdlife Australia).

Eastern Whipbird photo from Birdlife Australia

The warm weather has seen the reappearance of the eastern water dragon. This one is full size, a metre in length from head to tail and the red colouring shows it’s a mature male.

A male eastern water dragon basking in the late afternoon sun

There has been lots of activity regarding our late night visitor possums. You might remember I have two possums living in our outside laundry occupying a box we put in there. Well, I discovered one morning that both of them have a joey! The possum I named Chloe is all grown up now and has her very first joey. Here’s a glimpse I got of the little one.

If you look closely just above the carrot, you can make out a little paw and pink nose of the little joey.

The possum I named Heidi (Chloe’s mother) has an even younger joey!

Heidi in the possum box with a pinky joey

The poor mum was just waking up when I took the photo, and clearly it was hot inside the box too. That little pinky is definitely the littlest joey I have ever seen in my backyard. How special was that!! You can see more photos of these two possums in my previous post here.

What a month – lots of baby birds begging for food, tiny possum joeys making their first appearance, the long awaited arrival of the baby kookaburras, and even a new bird species dropped by!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Possums

You may remember me writing previously about two brushtail possums that seem to be making their home in a possum box in our outside laundry. I call them the possum box sitters. They are Heidi, an adult female possum, and Chloe, her joey who has grown up and continues to live alongside her, which I think is a bit unusual for possums. Well, there has been a development …

Heidi and Chloe sharing the possum box

Chloe seems to be always either inside the box or sleeping on top of it, whereas Heidi comes and goes. Sometimes I have found both possums in the box at the same time – it must be a tight squeeze for two adult possums!

Despite being mother and daughter, these girls love their food and don’t like to share, as you can see in the video below.

All’s fair in love and carrot war!

One morning I was in the laundry and noticed something a little unusual.

I could not believe I was seeing a little tail! I waited quietly and patiently and was finally rewarded with this –

Chloe has become a mum!!

The next day I went to check on the possums because it was very hot and I thought I should open up the door and window for them to circulate the air, and I found that Chloe had moved to a spot in the rafters. This may have been cooler for her as there was a gap in the wall around a pipe and she could get a breeze. Then I saw the tiny joey again, probably misbehaving as I could hear Chloe usher quiet little noises to it.

The joey’s little tail hangs down with a cute little curl
The joey drinking from mum’s pouch.
You’re not going anywhere little one!
Come back here and behave! Says mum
Safe and sound snuggled in with mum

I couldn’t get to see the joey’s face, it seemed to have its head buried in mum’s pouch a lot, but it looks a dear little thing.

Having spent some time watching these two, I thought I may as well see if Heidi was in the box, so I grabbed my camera and took a photo through the hole and captured this –

Heidi in the possum box with a pinky joey

Heidi was just waking up when I snapped the photo, and she looks hot in the box as she’s stretched out, but you can see the tiny joey she has in her pouch. Here’s a close up.

A close up of the tiny pinky joey

So Heidi has also become a mum! Heidi is on to her third joey in about 12 months!

I have to say, that little pinky joey is definitely the smallest joey I have ever seen in my backyard!

Two little babies, completely unexpected, what a double delight!

I could not have asked for a better way to end the year. Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

 

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.