As I sat quietly reflecting in our courtyard, absorbing the warm winter sun, enjoying my hot chocolate and Tim Tams, watching the bees harvest nectar from the Lavender flowers and smiling at the occasional Noisy Miner as it plunges into the birdbaths only a few feet away and shakes its butt as it trustingly watches me, I pondered on what to post. Now nine weeks in lock-down and (including our 2 weeks isolation) we see no immediate end as infections with Delta rise daily and rebellious people flagrantly continue to break the even tougher lock-down laws.

One interesting and encouraging outcome has been the increase in reported backyard bird count figures over the last few months as people in lock-down, or even those just staying home more, either out of fear or now working from home, begin to better appreciate their backyard bird visitors, and some are even capitalizing on it, and sharing it with the world as an encouraging lift of spirits for others, as seen in this video on YouTube which describes how this became a very popular daily series which went viral (to use a currently popular term) on Tic Toc.

So in this post we will highlight some of the important benefits and ways we can attract our local birds. Now what you see below is not a common site, as the Pied Currawong is one of the most wary of birds, and dreads being watched, though this is its own past-time, secretly watching other birds for an opportune moment to steal food from them or their young from the nest. Interesting truth, those who cry loudest about a particular behaviour in others, often suffer blind-spots to themselves being one of the worst offenders.

Pied Currawong bathing, but very cautiously watching

One advantage of lock-down has been updating my website theme and updating and sprucing up my pages. I have been able to successfully get my head around the Block Editor and devise ways of making it do the things Classic did, that have been omitted by using HTML code and splicing it into the Blocks. Many of you have already checked out my new look pages. My Home Page looks more modern and easier to navigate from. One feature that many have appreciated, especially those new to birding, is not only the changes to my Birding for Beginners Page and 5 Steps to Better Birding page but also information and benefits of setting up a humble backyard birdbath. Click on the image below to read this article.


Before I proceed I want to make a special offer to my loyal Blog Followers, as well as any reading this blog. While I remain in lock-down I have reduced my books to wholesale prices. Of course postage will remain the same. This offer is not outside of this blog. Click here to visit my Lock-Down Sale page.

Another addition to my website, and a bonus from Block Editor was the inclusion of the new easy to install PayPal Checkout Block. You can now purchase more than one copy of each book in one transaction from special pages set up for this purpose and accessible from the Birdbook page, allowing the purchase of up to 4 copies of each book with free postage when 4 are purchased. This has been a great benefit as many return to buy several copies as gifts. Below is my recent Facebook add video for my local area, so please disregard the prices, and click on the above link to make a purchase.


I included the Crested Pigeon flight shot off the birdbath as my feature photo, as it has become a favorite of mine and several others. As I have shared previously, and in my article on making birdbaths effective in attracting bird, if you want the birds to trust you and allow you to come close, you need to learn bird etiquette. Birds each have rules they have learnt about us humans, either passed down from parents or from their experiences, similar to us. I will relist them here:

  1. Avoid direct eye contact with the bird as this is threatening to them.
  2. Move very slowly around them with no sudden movements.
  3. Sit and remain seated in a spot nearby. Eventually over time they will draw near when they realize you are not a threat.
  4. Remain quiet and try not to make any noise. Birds have super sensitive hearing and are easily startled and frightened, as it is their main means of protection from predators.
  5. Keep a distance of at least 3 meters to start with. Over time as they get to know and trust you, they will allow you to sit within several feet away.
  6. The birds are watching you when you least think and communicate their findings to other birds, so keep their baths clean and filled daily and they will frequent them and bring their friends.
  7. Make sure any cats and dogs are not around when you are wanting to view the birds. Enjoy the Birds !

Grey Butcherbird: My little mate Butch bathing.

If your build it they will come

This famous saying applies to your backyard also. It is not just about your provision and maintenance of fresh water and safe accessible birdbaths, but much more, especially if you have planted nectar producing shrubs and trees nearby. In Australia, which have some of the greatest nectar producing flowers, which include the Grevilleas and Bottlebrish to name two families, it is recommended for each back or front yard to plant several of these plants. If you do they will come and you can view them feeding. Having the water and nectar in close proximity, will be an even greater attraction, and birds will choose to nest in nearby trees, as they do around us, and even in our old Endeavour Bottlebrush tree (which was suppose to be a shrub). We love viewing the birds when the tree is in flower (in the next month) hanging from the flowers and hearing the Rainbow Lorikeets excitedly chattering to one another.

Rainbow Lorikeets feeding in our backyard Bottlebrush

Many of our American friends have feeders of seed and bark butter etc, as your winters are harsh for the birds, whereas here in Australia, birders and conservationists, discourage the feeding of our wild birds, though many people unwittingly feed them, which may present future problems for both the bird and the one feeding, especially if the bird brings its young to feed and learns this behaviour.

Australian King Parrot female feeding on seed (provided as an attraction to tourists)

But yes there is more than just birds drinking, bathing and feeding, when you have these facilities in your yard which you can easily view from your window or courtyard seat….

Other activities start occurring from time to time, adding entertaining moments, especially while in lock-down. My wife and I often call each other to the sun-room window to see some extraordinary event taking place. So let me list just some of the ones we have experienced, some you may have already seen, I am sure you have many to add:

  • Butch my little Grey Butcherbird friend cleaning out our gutters in search of food snacks.
Noisy Miner cleaning our gutters looking for worms and insects.

  • Mobbing by Miners is a regular feature here, as they aggressively and successfully guard our area from unwanted intruders, but sadly also from our local Kookaburras who have been trying to get back in again.

Kookaburra family being mobbed by Noisy Miners

  • Watching our baby Crested Pigeons grow, having been born above our birdbaths in our Bottlebrush tree.
Newly fledged Crested Pigeon babies hanging on in strong winds near the nest in our Bottlebrush tree.
  • Here are last year’s babies sunning and preening, as I have not successfully captured this years on the roof .
  • Australian Raven outcast trying to find food, including our new Crested babies, but being chased away by Miners.

Noisy Miner Coalition attacking a rogue Australian Raven.

  • You may remember from last Summer’s heat waves and drought the suffering birds coming to our birdbaths exhausted and thirsty, notice their mouths open trying to assist heat exchange, as their body temperatures are also higher than ours. It is in times like this that birds are willing to share the birdbath with other birds, which they would normally be fearful of.

Butcherbird and Noisy Miner share birdbath during a heatwave day.

  • You may remember this juvenile Grey Butcherbird, one of Butch’s babies, sitting in our Bottlebrush tree and practicing many different bird calls. This is unusual, as they seldom are heard copying other birds.This only confirms that many of our Aussie birds are capable of mimicry.

Many other observations were not recorded on camera because we were not prepared, as birds have to be captured in the moment or on the fly as it were, and do not wait for us to be ready. I apologize for a boring post, as many of you would have seen these videos in previous posts, but I thought it timely to highlight the importance of assisting our local birds to visit our backyard, as a means of encouraging emotional, physical and mental health it is for us during times such as Lock-Down or illness, that little bird moments can make all the difference in a day. Enjoy your own backyard birds my friends !


Have a most enjoyable week my friends, and thank you for dropping in, with a special welcome to any new visitors. Stay safe and keep praying for the end of this Covid Catastrophe which each of us have been affected by in some way or other.


A local Sulphur-crested Cockatoo feeding on berries from a neighbour’s plant.

One thing we have learnt from all this, which carries into all of life, is that: if you build it, they will come. When we open our hearts and pockets to be welcoming to people as well as birds, it brings its own blessings. My wife and I have been amazed at times by how, over the years, several people have remarked on entering our home how peaceful it is, or how they sense a real shalom peace when they walk into our lounge area. We know why this is, and it is not just because of us. Showing acceptance, love and warm hospitality to people we meet and bring into our home is something that carries its own blessing. The art of spontaneous generous hospitality has all but been lost in our country, something that was a feature of life when I was a young parent. The Covid has been trying for us who have missed having friends and family over, especially my wife who loves cooking special dishes, as do I. Some children often visit and stay the night, but not recently, lock-down forbidding. It’s not about a fancy house with all the latest gadgets, or even a large one with pool and maybe even gym, no its about the heart of the home, that is, the people who live there and how they love each other, and share that love with others who come into it.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” – 1 Peter 4:9

As a last word we recommend a movie series launched last year called The Chosen, which is a unique and dramatic approach to the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It is something anyone can watch and find enthralling. You can view it by downloading The Chosen app on your phone, where it is now in its second series, and cast it from there to your TV or check out the first few episodes at The Chosen YouTube channel. You can find out more here.

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‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,

To 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, 2021.

22 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash,
    Apologies for my silence but I wanted to drop in and say hello. I plan on sending a detailed update and revisiting your blog articles within the next few days. You and your wife (and all your family) remain in our thoughts and prayers daily.

    Thank for your sharing the joys of these backyard visitors. This post brought a much needed smile today – thank you. If I may say so, we also love the new layout of your site!

    Please continue to take care and stay safe and be in touch soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, for your encouraging comments. I am glad you enjoyed the post, and the upgrade of my website, it was long overdue and the extended Covid lock-down has enabled me to fix up some things as well as write, being now over half way through my new book. You both have been in our prayers daily and do hope you had a chance to get out for a nature walk this last weekend. Our walks are very limited in lock-down as our National Parks and Reserves are outside the permitted 5 km radius. we are now locked down till October, and night curfew starts tonight. It is like the second world war here. I pray you are staying safe and well, and that things will improve in life for you both soon. Richest blessings 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A good post to refresh our memory when interacting with our bird friends. It is surprising just how much a person’s spirit can be lifted simply by watching the antics of common backyard birds going about their daily routines or having a splash in the bird bath. I hope lots of people stuck in lockdown can now appreciate the little things in life and are getting a small dose of nature to help improve their mental health and well being.
    And as you try to find things to blog about due to the covid restrictions in your area, I am also finding it difficult to get good blog content due to all the rainy weekends we have been having and not getting the opportunity to get and about. It’s very annoying to see some sunny days during the week when I am working only for the rain to return on the weekend! 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, yes it is good for our mental and emotional health to see and hear our little backyard visitors each day. Our pigeons are growing up, and as my wife and several others are saying “this Covid lock-down is like Groundhog Day.” 🙂 Every day is the same here at home. I hope it fines up soon for you as we approach Spring, Summer has started early this year with higher than average temps and no rain again. It is challenging as a blogger at the moment, but I just keep writing my third book, which helps to keep me sane. I am very happy with the changes to my website and now that I know how to use and get around the Block Editor thingy. Enjoy your weekend my friend and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful videos, I enjoyed watching the butcherbirds, junior looks bigger than the dad. I have a pond out back, but a few of the birds prefer the bird bath. I love helping them out during this heat wave here as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, yes it is amazing that with several bird species the juvenile can appear larger than the adult, maybe its the fluffing under the feathers, interesting though. The birdbath is a great asset for them in the heat waves, which we get every year here, so providing water is such a help to our local birds, and they will protect it from ferule and intruding birds, keeping only for the local birds that share their territory. It is good to see how birds of different species learn to work with each other and respond to alarm calls of other bird species that lshare their geographic territory.

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  4. Not a boring post at all, Ashley, I enjoyed it very much. Your header photo of the Crested Pigeon in flight is stunning! Great message, too, as well as your new website setup, well done! I’ve yet to even try or think about giving up Classic. Sounds painful, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna for your most encouraging comments at a time when I have missed birding for almost 2 months now and lock-down looks like being extended another 2 months. I found the Block editor most frustrating for a while, and have spend a lot of time with thie so called ‘happiness engineers’ trying to navigate the change over. I still use coding from Classic at times, and they did reinstall my Classic widget menu as they have inadequacies in the block model, which they are now aware of. I think for us older ones it is understanding the concept of how it works, once you catch it, you can go forward, but you still have limits on what you can do, and things you can’t do that you could previously, such as add a different colour to several words in a line. Because the line is a block it colours the whole line. I use classic code and insert the colour codes via the HTML option manually and it works. There are some good features, but it seems so much more cumbersome and click happy than the previous method. Enjoy your weekend my friend, and I hope it is not too smoky for you there !

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it, I hope I’m not forced to change over.

        We are out of the smoke finally, we’ve been happy to see blue skies for last few days during our all day driving! And I’m going to have a wonderful, blessed weekend, can’t wait! We should be home Friday afternoon, I’ve got some grandboys to go see and hug tight! But seriously, Ashley, it is starting to get crazy over here again with covid. I’m afraid we’re going to go into lockdown again too. Glad we’re getting home, the violence too is scary, I don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just want to hunker down and stay safe with family, and take care of each other. And pray for the world, I am very disappointed with what our President has done to Afghanistan. Our new administration has failed so many times since taking office. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • So glad you are both safe and smoke free, other blogging friends over there have had smoke and threatening fires, and even more wonderful that you will get to hug your grandies, I was not permitted to do that last year when I visited mine, their father was afraid we might give them the virus. It has been 2 years and no hugs, the country people are afraid of our city at present, but the virus has just gone out to all of our state in the last two weeks for the first time. Yes we are disappointed with your government also, as the world watches in shock. I do pray you have a wonderful time this weekend and are kept safe.
        I think there are too many people from our age group that have complained about the block editor for them to remove it, but they are gradually transitioning away from it. What they are currently doing is building Classic plugins you have to use if you want Classic features. The problem I had with this was that when WordPress was taken over some years ago, they limited Plugins to those who bought their Business suite. I have told them how unfair that is as I pay for Premium. The biggest headache with the Block editor is navigating, always opening and closing menus to access what you want, which slows you down. The main thing you need to catch onto, which finally gave me clarity as to how it works is that everything you do is in its own block, and as you complete one block and Enter it, a line with an + sign automatically appears after your last entry, you click on it and it gives you options. If you want more options, click on the + on the top left hand side of the page. If you write text and select it or load an image another menu occurs above it for link and Bold and Italics etc. Also you will need to click on the wheel thingy on the top right of the page to change colours and font sizes as well as other things. There are tutorial videos you can view, I sort of picked it all up by playing with it, as I do with a lot of my learning. I have learnt a little code so I can change in and out of HTML code and Visual modes. There is a 3 dot menu that appears on the left of the block you are using when you start using the block, it has other functions. It is a headache trying to change a classic page to a Block page, it can be done, but your font sizes and colours will be affected, as they are different. and you can not colour part of one line, it does the whole block, so I go in and add the colour codes to the words using the HTML editor, accessible by the 3 dot menus. Anyway, don’t know if that helps my friend, in summary persevere.:-)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Ashley! Oh, so sorry you’ve not gotten to hug your grandchildren, I didn’t realize that when you finally got to see them after so long. I have cut and paste your info on the editor info, so when I finally get caught up and can think straight about it, I’ll have your notes. I’m so far not aware of having any problems with my old theme and what I’m doing now. I see a +sign option list and I click classic and stay in that classic block for my whole post, words, photos, colors, everything. I hope mine keeps flowing that way. 🙂 Thanks again, my friend, stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think God is answering my prayers to bless and inspire you during your lockdown! Thank you for another edifying post, and sharing the impressive TicTok video.
    I always appreciate your behavioral insights of the birds like the Pied Currawong. True, we can see ourselves therein. I chastise myself when critical of others, “Wait a minute Lisa, arent you like that? Or weren’t you just like that before coming to the Lord?”
    “…this is its own past-time, secretly watching other birds for an opportune moment to steal food from them or their young from the nest.” But this stealth practice also reminds me if Satan, who patiently waits for an opportunity to “rob, kill, and destroy”.
    (Of course, a bird though is not evil, but is a totally innocent creature of God)
    Thank you for your bird watching tips! We are leaving for an extended stay at my parents. Looking forward to reading your book there and, I may practice some of those tips in their backyard. Hopefully I can report lovely birds coming near me!
    Thank you again Ashley, appreciate your array of bird beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, I am always so encouraged by your comments and so thankful for your prayers, as it has not been an easy time. Thankfully I am writing again after writers block, which I guess the Lord used to modernize my web site. It looks like this lock-down is heading for another few months the way things are going. Australia was doing so well earlier in the year and now we are not because a few selfish people defy authority. Praise the Lord we have what we need and can enjoy our freedom, we are very sad for those in Afghanistan at present. Hope you enjoy your weekend and a most enjoyable catchup time away visiting your parents. Enjoy the Birds dear sister !

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Ashley,
    Great set of ideas and points to ponder as we ‘interact with the the world of the birds around us. It is surprising how readily they will accept our presence if we are prepared to wait for them to initiate the contact.
    Jon Young calls it ‘building threads, that become a rope’ that bonds both the bird and the observer.

    Glad you’ve been able to use the lockdown productively. It certainly is beginning to have an impact on our ability to cope in so many ways.

    While Melbourne numbers are no where near those of Sydney, the basic principle of ‘Stay at Home’ does not seem to have entered the psyche of so many.

    Good luck and remain safe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wise truths David, it really about the birds accepting us first, as it is them that is cautious and fearful of us, as was part of the curse on our forefather Adam. I like the threads to rope concept, so true with all relationships which fits with, if you build it they will come. I hear people share at times how they do not have many friends, and I ask them why do you think that is? and eventually as we work through it they realize it is that they never did much to build and maintain them. I am glad my website is now sorted and I have overcome my writer’s block, but am finding this extended lock-down more a challenge, which I know you have far more experience in understanding than most. It could go on till the end of the year, or October now they are suggesting. The rebels continue to infect and are secretly doing it all over our sate which is making the country people very angry with Sydney. Stay safe also my friend and enjoy the precious moments you have when you get to get out and about. We are limited to a walk around the block seeing Miners, Magpies and Pigeons within a 5 km radius.

      Like

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