Sunday, August 10, 2008
A Wonderful Bird
I got up this morning at 6.30 and was trundling about the kitchen making my daughter's lunch, when she suddenly exclaimed 'Mum, look at that bird!". We ran to the large glass sliding door and looked out: a medium sized bird was flitting about the greenery around the chicken coop. It had THE most amazing colouring I've ever seen: deep glossy black body and tail, and neon egg-yolk yellow head and wings. It was an amazing sight when it opened its wings to fly, as while many birds have colour underneath the wings which may only be glimpsed in flashes, this bird's wings were solid, bright yellow, both front and back. We were very excited to see another bird with the same colouring join the first - we immediately thought it must be two males, rather than a mated pair (in the brightly coloured species, usually the females have the drab colouring). Juveniles, perhaps? Could there be a nesting family nearby? Then my dog barked - and they flitted off into the trees, and, despite their spectacular colouring, were lost to sight. Here's a pic of the chicken coop where he was flitting about, and you can see the forest reserve in the background, which is teeming with life:
We raced to the computer to google 'black and yellow Australian birds', as we had NO idea what they might be. We tossed some possibilities around, like rifle bird, honey-eater of some kind, and John suggested bower bird: he was right. It turned out they were two male Regent Bowerbirds. We're so excited! We do have a lot of bird-life here, being on 2.5 acres with a lush pasture with a lot of water in the soil (as all the run-off from the house gets fed onto the site), so we often have a yard full of wading birds, like grey or white herons, ducks, egrets, ibis, and so on; along with the usual Australian suspects such as galahs and cockatoos (which congregate in huge numbers here), the shyer rosellas, plus various blow-ins like swifts and honey-eaters, along with a large extended family of kookaburras - but in the 14 months we've been here, we've never seen a Bower bird! What a treat!