Thank you my dear friends for following my blog throughout turbulent 2020. This will my last word for the year. Interesting enough I went for a walk today to exercise, as Sydney is dealing currently with another Covid outbreak. After the rain and almost winter-like weather of the past few days it was very quiet in my local bush park, with very few birds and people. So I figured this last one will be simple and short. We are all very thankful that our government is very proactive and responsible to the health and well being of us all, and grateful that we have made it thus far in what is the most extraordinary year in our lifetime.

Australian Christmas Bush flowers

My Christmas card above features the Scarlet Honeyeater male, a bird that appears before Christmas, coinciding with the flowering of our native Christmas Bush, as well as, the call of the Eastern Koel in the early morning.

These among many other signs tells us that we approach the time for us all to kick back , relax and celebrate both the birth of Jesus and the coming new year, as we put the passing one behind. For many this will be a time of grief, suffering and sorrow. We pray for the comfort and recovery of the hundreds of thousands experiencing this in this moment. Every one of us has lost something or someone this year, we are all grieving at different levels. No one escaped loss, just as if it were a world war, and it is not over yet. As I walked along the quieter than usual bush track I stopped to watch and hear something very special and unique. A Grey Butcherbird conversing with a pair of Australian Magpies. In my recent studies and research I have learned that many of Australia’s intelligent birds  can communicate between species, as they learn their languages by listening and observing intently. I apologise for the loud Cicada background, yet another sign of Australia’s bush Summer. I recorded this:

What one needs to be aware of it that the Butcherbird is quite capable of copying and speaking with the Magpie, as is the Magpie to the Butcherbird. The call of the Butcherbird in the above recording is not one of his usual Butcherbird calls, he is actually speaking in Magpie. For example, listen to this immature Butcherbird practicing, and recalling mimicry it has learnt from other birds.

This exercise between birds is not only good for improving relationships, but is very useful in times of emergency when either of the birds need assistance to locate and mob a common predator or warn to take flight. This brought me to think, what have we learnt this year? Great challenges are opportunity for greater learning.

Eleven lyrebirds around a small farm dam with smoke in the air.

Eleven lyrebirds can be seen in the image as a bushfire near Wollombi approached (Supplied: PJ Wallis for ABC News 30th Jan 2020)

Bushfire, drought, flood and Covid were all great challenges in 2020 from which many positive lessons were gleaned, to help us navigate the future. They rallied the community back to the mate-ship  of the Aussie battler, that made Australia great back in our early post convict days when ex convict married ex convict and toughed it out in the bush to carve out a home and a family, because they could not afford to go back to Britain. My ancestors also married as ex convicts and established a town in NSW. For those interested rediscover the old the TV series “Against the Wind” to get an idea of the difficulties. These new settlers (all mostly ex convicts) learned to trust and assist each other through the difficult times of establishing a living from nothing, from which arose the Aussie mate-ship, which carried us into the world wars and helped make our nation famous for the ANZACS and the friendly warm helpful reputation we once received from other nations.

The Superb Lyrebird knew what to do to save itself from the firestorm, gathering their mates they fled to the dam. Many species managed to survive using amazing survival skills, learnt and possibly passed down from somewhere in the past.

The Australian Wood Duck has always survived well because both parents have their priorities always before them, keeping them faithful in both relationship with each other and care of the family. Many have rediscovered the importance of family and family relationships, and had to modify the importance of the peripheral things of life, such as job, possessions, sports and money, which for many had taken the place of THE most important – family relationships. The Covid made us all aware of our own fragile humanity, and that we are all vulnerable and all need each other to survive. We are not a rock or an island as Simon and Garfunkel once erroneously suggested. For our northern friends this song is set ‘in a deep and dark December’.

Thankfully we already had the technology to create such meeting places as Zoom to tide us over the Covid lock downs, and create new and more efficient ways to work from home, and have more family and home time. We began to carve out a new kind of normal.  A list of new words arose which became common place in daily conversation, and a new awakened responsibility for one’s own health and the health of those in their daily life. The Australian White Ibis in my book “What Birds Teach Us” is an example of support, security and strength in community.

I wish you all a very enjoyable Christmas and a healthy, blessed  and prosperous New Year. May it be better and may we all grow more resilient and mindfully learn to experience peace and contentment in what ever circumstance we find ourselves in so that we can be comfort and strength for others. Regardless of what popular opinion has become in recent years, and the removal of Christ from Christmas, he remains: The Reason for the Season. It still amazes me that one so loving and kind, who has brought so much good into our world and our culture,  can be feared and despised by so many, even fear from declaring his name with respect, fear that even drives people to kill and injure people who love him and live the life of love he encourages, which continues to be the case in many countries in our world today.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (NIV)

W. A. Hewson (Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy).

‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,

‘So we can learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’

NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed  by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.


  1. Hi Ashley,
    Been a tough year in more ways than one.

    Hope the current restrictions are not too onerous for you. Have to say that we learned a lot about our need for interaction with people during the Melbourne Lockdow, All power to our government for being able to hold the course, until the horrid thing was bought under control.
    I think we both learned to enjoy a much simpler lifestyle, not so much driven by other’s demands on our time.
    The blogs that I follow, and the Flickr communities that I follow, all helped provide some valuable input and intellectual challenge that was obvious missing not having personal contact with other likeminded folk.
    We supported many of our local business, as best we could, after all there is only so much coffee one can consume in a day. 🙂

    Thanks for your wonderful updates and insights into the lives of birds and of course how that harmonises with the greater universe.
    So much to learn, so much to enjoy

    Best wishes to you and your family, and your blog readership for the festive season, and may 2021 settle us into a more stable opportunity to enjoy the birds

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much David for your warm and appreciative comments, they are much appreciated. I want to also thank you for your important contribution to us during this year with what you shared and always the beautiful captures you showcase. I am always inspired by your work my friend. Wishing you and your wife a most enjoyable Christmas celebration, and we give thanks that it will be at least Covid free for Christmas and New Year for you, though for us on the south side of Sydney we are on alert, but not locked down as the north side is. It has been a busy morning getting the food in for the feast. All the best of everything 🙂


      • Hi Ashley, glad to learn you are a Southsider, at least you have a little control over your movements.

        Strangely, I find myself, after having endured the long, nearly year long, restrictions on us, that I’ve been watching the Sydney numbers and following the various commentators with what can only be described as ‘morbid fascination’.
        It is a bit like reliving it all over again.
        Power to Gladys and her team, and hopefully some releif is in the offing.

        Best wishes to all.


        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, Amen sister ! May you and your family have a most enjoyable Christmas even amid this trying time for your country. This recent outbreak has placed us on alert, but thankfully we are not locked down for Christmas. Blessings in abundance !


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