Since my wife and I are unable to walk the flooded tracks of our local national parks we decided to use our post Covid Entertainment Voucher (courtesy of our state government) to visit our local Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney’s oldest and largest zoo, situated right on Sydney Harbour with stunning views of the harbour and city. Our main reason for visiting the zoo birds is to see Australian birds from other parts of our vast country, birds which we have not seen for some time or unlikely to see. One such bird is the now Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeater. This bird has sparked more attention in public conservation programs than any other, and marks an important phase in community awareness of habitat loss.

Though I have seen this bird several times in the wild after much pursuit (non-banded birds) most of these surviving birds are now banded as the zoo participates in preserving this species through its ongoing breeding and release program. On arrival, after a coffee, we made our way to the Rainforest and Blue Mountains Avery, Australian Walkabout and finally the Australian Finches Avery after stopping off to check out the Cassowary. We chose one of the few sunny days to visit and were very pleased with the result.

The Regent Honeyeater

One of the problems facing the breed and release program is that the call or language of the captive Regents is that it has changed in captivity to the point where the birds in the wild are unable to identify with those released. This inhibits these birds getting together to mate, and so have to rely on released mates to repopulate.

The older more mature birds have a darker beak and a darker warty eye patch or ring. I have noticed that the birds I have seen in the wild (non-banded) have a more flesh coloured warty eye patch. Compare this non-banded wild bird photo below with above photos. These birds are endangered because of loss of habitat and more so the loss of their main nectar feeding tree the Mugga Ironbark, because the most mature trees were cut down last century to make railway sleepers, and take many many years to mature and blossom. Capertee National Park is a locked park to protect the breeding area of these birds which nest along the Capertee River.

Another endangered bird we saw was the Guildian Finch, a tiny bird found in the dry arid regions of far north western Australia. They are subject to habitat loss and the effects of fires, which help replenish their seed baring grasses which they thrive on. Australia’s finches have an amazing ability to survive the heat and dry conditions as they require only very small quantities of water to maintain them. We saw these birds in the Finches Avery. They are one of the world’s most beautiful birds and have various morphs or colour patterns.

So many wonderful creatures in endanger of extinction in our world, increasing yearly as precious habitat and food sources are lost for bird and animal species. In America at present many parents are fearful that their children are endangered as a result of the increasing violent unprovoked massacres occurring almost daily, with no protection in place to prevent this occurrence. When I heard the report the other night on the news of the Robb Elementary School Massacre I was deeply moved by the action of a young 11 year old girl Miah Cerrillo. This young lady, after witnessing the close range shooting of her teachers and friends, was wise enough in the moment to take some of the blood of her bleeding dead friend and smear it on herself, and then lie as if shot. As a result of her action she escaped alive with minor injuries.

What struck me, when I heard this news report, was how this girl’s action saved her life and how much it represented what Jesus Christ has done for us in that he gave his righteous blood (life) to be our covering and protection from God’s judgement for our sinful lives, and as a result we were spared death and judgement, and granted eternal life because of his death in our place. The important thing to take from this was that Miah was wise enough to act quickly and smear the blood on herself, and so it is for us a message that we can only experience this gift of life and forgiveness and usher in a new start to life, be receiving it and believing that it is ours. To know one is friends with God and that their guilt and selfish deeds are forgiven is a beautiful exchange, as Jesus took into himself the suffering and penalty for all of our wrong doing for all time, as a loving Father God reached out to us, like Miah, unable to save herself, but for the blood of her friend covering her. Consider and reflect:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NIV)

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:10

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” – Ephesians 1:7

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12

Praying you all have a wonderful week.


    • Thanks Sue, yes it is sad that the zoo has gone to so much effort to breed these birds and discover the language problem, it just shows that birds are almost as complex as we are. One of the reasons many of Aussie birds can learn to mimic other bird calls is that they can learn the dialects of other species. But birds that don’t have contact with outside wild birds have difficulty adapting. Stay warm and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts my friend 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, the way things are going with our state government things are unlikely to change, though the change in our federal last week will have more of an impact, as many are ashamed of the past governments conservation record, and the new leadership want to make a difference, which is what most of us want.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m always amazed by the plumage of most birds in Australia. They do have more colorations and incredible patterns.. Must be because the different foods they ingest. Great post, Ashley. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks HJ, Yes we love that they are so colorful also and often many or several varieties of the species, unlike say Britain which may only have one of each. Foods do affect the birds and the Regent Honeyeater facial characteristics, eye ring, is a good example, as the zoo bred birds do not get to feed from their best flowers on the Ironbark and the quality of nectar is limited. Thanks for sharing my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks BJ, and so true we need now more than ever to save them, when they are gone our children and children’s children may never have the pleasure. It is so difficult getting government on board with conservation when they are being pushed and shoved by big business and developers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Ashley,
    A timely reminder of the state of play with some of our critically endangered birds
    I hadn’t thought before of the change of song occurring because of, well, a different dialect. In trying to be helpful we’ve opened another jar of worms.

    I also wonder how the various tones/colours that they obviously use to distinguish one another is also affected.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes the dialects of the birds apparently works in a similar way to our many forms, which is why the parrots and desert birds in particular need to be apt at copying and learning the language of various flocks in order to survive. While breed and release has its value it has its limitations. However, eventually there will be so many banded birds that hopefully they will get together and breed.


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