Six years ago I did not know what a ‘blog’ was until my son and daughter-in-law suggested I start one. My wife and I wanted to encourage birding as a healthy recreational pursuit for families and couples. Most blogs at that time were focused mainly on photography of birds and ornithological subjects, and we wanted something for the beginner and the ordinary everyday person, focused more on enjoyment, observing and learning about our Aussie birds. Stepping onto the page I started a whole new world initiating my weekly blog posts and the Red-tailed Tropicbird avatar for aussiebirder through WordPress, which later moved into aussiebirder.com.
This occurred as I was writing my first book,and when I was seeing the parallel of bird behaviour with human behaviour, having studied family counselling and having a passion for the future of our younger generation. Over the years this grew into much more than I had originally anticipated. During that time I have been asked to speak and assist in various projects, as well as market my book and teach through my website which has generated some lovely relationships for myself and my wife, which we continue to enjoy. I personally thank all of my dear blog followers, especially those who take the time to read through my often long posts, with a special thank you for those who are brave enough to give encouraging comments, which at times have helped me continue. The words of Napoleon are true:
I have also created an aussiebirder YouTube Channel since where I am gradually adding interesting videos about Australian birds and their behavioural characteristics, and lessons what we can learn from them at: aussibirder YouTube
It is Spring here in Australia, as you can see by the Australian Wood Duck featured above. A time for new beginnings and new life experiences. The opportunity for many to pass from the dark winter of the soul to the new life opportunities and experiences of Spring, especially at this time where globally every human alive has suffered one form of loss or another through the extraordinary year that was unexpectedly cancelled. You may recall this video:
By now you are probably asking: “Where are the birds ? !” Well, this week’s post is a little different as I take time to reflect and appreciate the journey thus far as I move into the 7th year.
Now for some birds. I noticed this Noisy Miner yesterday spreading its wings out over a sandy mound in the warm Spring sun. After a few minutes it does a quick preen and lies there again, quite vulnerable to passing walkers. You may have come across this with birds from your own area. There are various proposed explanations of which all may be true. In summary, it can be for shear pleasure as it feels good to bathe in the Spring sun after a cold Winter. It can also be that the heat of the sun forces the lice and mites in the plumage to the edges of the wings and tail for easy removal by the bird, which is why they have short preens between their sun bathing. Some birds do this near ants, where the formic acid in the ants, causes the mites to leave (some species of ants will actually remove the mites). Should they preen immediately before and after they sun bathe, the warmth of the sun assists the preening oil to spread evenly over the feathers.
As a recently retired Seniour Scientist, I focus on using the skills and learning I have acquired over the years to assist, teach and encourage people, especially children and young people, to navigate a happy and healthy life through making wise/good life choices, which many of you know is a feature of my book “What Birds Teach Us” and also my second book “Flight of a Fledgling” to follow later in the year. This is my legacy. This led me to give dynamic interactive talks which I especially enjoyed, such as with this school, where I appear as Aussiebirder, which generated an amazing response in Primary School aged children.
My book has led me to experience the blessing of being given premium space in a very popular local art show and also in the Australian Bird Fair. It was great chatting with people from the community and answering their questions. It is amazing how the book has helped so many people, and my wife and I have received many testimonies of how it helped people of all ages, and has been reported to have helped a suicidal person have a complete change of mind. For this I am truly thankful and feel very humbled and privileged.
Thankfully, the Covid has not stopped my book selling all over Australia, in fact sales have been better than ever at present as our state has been separated from the rest of the country due to travel restrictions and closed state borders, preventing people from holidaying outside the state. Business is booming in many of the shops and visitor centres where my book is sold. My selling clientele has recently expanded and continually expanding to most of the main cities and towns in our state as well as capital cities over Australia, for which I am truly thankful and feel greatly blessed. I love how many of my clients have embraced the vision and legacy behind the book, and not just its beautiful appearance. I am delighted when one of my grandsons discovers my book on display when we visit various National Parks Visitor Centres on our birding outings.
This has been a nostalgic moment, though the publishing of the Second Edition mid Covid lock-down was a great achievement. A new beginning for a book that ceased to exist because it was sold out of print. My publisher sent photos of his children copying photos from book, and how it was already being enjoyed by them during the lock-down.
Speaking of new beginnings ! Spring brings with it the adorning of breeding plumage for many species such as both the Superb and Variegated Fairy-wrens, both species seen again in the same places as last week. These tiny insectivorous birds are constantly on the move. Here I captured the male and female Superb Fairy-wren moving together, soon to be nesting.
Fairy wrens despite my depiction of their heroic actions to protect their family sighted in my book, are quite promiscuous. In fact, Sir David Attenborough has called them “the most promiscuous bird known”. Much research has been done on their sex lives. Both sexes of the Superb Fairy wren are socially monogamous (staying in the same partnerships), but sexually promiscuous, an aspect I do not condone or highlight in my book. Notice how he is easy to spot even though he is so small. When he is in this bright breeding plumage it makes him more vulnerable to attack from other birds and predators, hence the need to be moving very cautiously and quickly. My challenge is to get him in focus fast enough. Sadly there are many blurred photos before I get a good one, when he stops for more than two seconds.
Again, this Variegated Fairy-wren male was spotted in the same place as last week. This one is even more difficult to capture.
Another group of birds I found in the same location was this small family of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. One of the youngsters (last photo) continued to call out. The one I managed to capture through the trees in the distance was a juvenile male. Notice the eye ring is not yet pink and the feathers are mottled brown with some black feathers forming.
One little bird I always love to see on my walks and I saw for the first time in a while, is this Eastern Yellow Robin. This is our most common rainforest robin and very curious always coming quite close to take a look at me. Here it is in its classic tree hanging pose. This insectivorous robin feeds from the ground, where it dives from trees to the ground and back up again. It is known to occasionally follow me along the track watching all the time to see if I turn up or stir up any insects as I walk.
The Top-knot Pigeons had gone, as they had eaten all the palm fruits in that area, and I did not manage to see the Scarlet Honeyeater again. The Golden Whistlers continued in full chorus, though I did not manage any good captures, but I did catch this beautiful Little Wattlebird with tongue partially extended. This is one of over 70 of our many species of Honeyeater.
Of course, to finish, a bright red bird, since the King Parrots eluded me today, one that was present in pairs was this Eastern Crimson Rosella, another chaser of seed from the previous Summer.
Thank you for taking the time to allow me share with you this review. I have equally enjoyed following your blogs and learning more about your birds from different parts of Australia and the world. I do hope you enjoy your week. For those in lock-down and various forms of deprivation and grieving loss, we pray continually for comfort, peace and a resolution for the current global crisis. It is interesting that no other time in history has there been so many people searching on the internet for information about God and Prayer and Faith related issues as now. Everyone seeks peace and consolation of mind and heart to navigate this uncertain time and remain safe and sane.
There was a man called Paul the Apostle who once wrote:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him [God] who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4: 12,13 (NIV)
Jesus himself comforted his followers with these words:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27 (NIV)
Finally, a verse that has been a great help to me and which has continues to prove true for me is:
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” – Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
If you would like to explore my Birder Sanctuary page you will find more Faith Based help and encouragement which is gleaned from our birds to help navigate this unprecedented time in our history.
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.