As we enter the second week of my book launch which unexpectedly coincided with the virus lock-down and social distancing laws, making it impossible to physically market my now published book, I have had to resort to online advertising more than ever. To my friends, fellow bloggers and followers I extend a special invitation to access my: Special Offer Book Launch Page to purchase your Second Edition: Improved and Enlarged of “What Birds Teach Us” at a lower than usual price, for a short time only. This is a great gift for school aged children and especially bird lovers. If this is your first visit to my blog or website click here to view last weeks blog which will give more information about the book or here for even more information.
Most of my birding has been at the birdbaths around our backyard court yard where we receive many visits per day by several species of our local birds. This has resulted in the bird baths being filled many times a day now that I am home more. This solitary Rainbow Lorikeet (unusual to be found alone) has become my most recent visitor.
One of the features of being home more often and having the birdbaths in the back yard is that the birds are learning to trust me as they become accustomed to me being around. They watch me filling the baths from nearby and then come. The most important rules for me to observe to earn their trust are to not look at them while I pass them (many wild animals or birds see eye contact as a stance of aggression or confrontation, as it is for some primitive human cultures). When I move past birds resting within very close range or using bird bath, the next rule is to move very slowly with fluid movement, not changing speed or suddenly moving. This conveys acknowledgement of their fear and respect for their concern. Noisy Miners and the alpha male Magpie trust me to be only a couple of feet away as they wash now. A month or two ago this was not the case.
It is important, if you want the birds to come, to also to clean out the baths weekly, otherwise mold and slime from the water being stale and feathered will coat the bath. Refill with fresh water. I have learned that each bird has a routine of when they know they can safely come without the threat of other birds, especially from the harassment of the always very noisy Noisy Miner coalition. You always know when Miners are bathing by their endless racket. This changes when the Male Maggie arrives.
If you sit quietly and wait, eventually the birds will come to you.
This is one of the key birding principles, when out in the bush, in a park or at home seated several feet or more from your bird bath. Birds are alarmed at movement, noise and sustained visual contact. They hear and see more acutely and respond faster than us, so if you sit and wait eventually a feeding flock will pass through, or a bird may even come and out of curiosity look you over, as is often the case at home. They also will come quite close, when they do not feel threatened, when they know that you have not harmed them in the past. They will drink and bathe and preen right next to you. Below is an excerpt from my Home Page on the ways to draw birds to your back yard and earn their trust.
The Enjoyable Daily Experience of the Humble Birdbath
One of the most enjoyable experiences we have each day is watching our local native birds drink, wash and cool off at our birdbaths. This can be quite entertaining. Birdbaths can be purchased from Garden and Landscape Centres or homemade by just fixing a large dish or bowl, firmly to a small table or very secure base. It is important the bowl does not move when birds land on it, otherwise they may not return.
Refill it with fresh water daily and clean it weekly, and let the birds do the rest. We have found having a large and small bath next to each other advantageous, as it allows several birds to make use at the same time.
I often get asked: “What can I do to attract our native birds to my backyard?” or “Is it alright to put seed, fruit or meat out for birds?” In Australia the land of drought and hot summers water is the bird’s most pressing need. Providing a constant source of clean water is the best we can do for our native birds, and a birdbath is the most practical means.
Australia is the home of several of the worlds most aggressive birds. Feeding native birds can not only lead to a dependence but more so to aggression from particular bird species, which can result in personal and property damage. Australian birds can find food most of the time and it is in their own interest to do that.
All birds need water, especially in time of drought which has been 4 years now for us. They need to drink and bathe and cool off, just like we do. The best thing you can do for your local birds is to buy or build a birdbath or two, and keep it filled daily, and cleaned weekly. If you want to feed your birds, in particular the many honeyeaters we have, plant nectar producing native shrubs, especially Bottlebrush (Callistemon) and Grevillea.
Plant native fruit trees, these include varieties of native fig, Lilly Pilly and other native fruit trees trees as most of our birds are fruit eaters. Many birds are small seed eaters so allow your grass to seed at the end of summer and any other seed producing plants.
My message from all the above is that Trust is earned when we have Learned what is needed for others to trust us. As with the birds, when we respect their needs and understand what makes them feel safe, so it is with us parents when with our children. This lock-down period is an excellent time for parents, in particular fathers, to spend time with their children and respect their needs of relationship with their dad. What better way than to read and explain from my book, especially if the dad can share his own personal experiences. The father can reinforce better than anyone by sharing time to read the book with them and explaining the wisdom of the life skills learnt from each bird. This is what is most precious to a growing child.
Stay Safe, Stay at Home and Enjoy your local birds with your family!
My Mission: To encourage young people to make good life choices, using birds to teach important life skills.
W. A. Hewson (Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy).
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.