Quite some time ago I got a couple of bird baths to hang in my garden. I have a lot of birdlife in my neighbourhood and, with the Summers being so hot, I wanted them to have access to water. I thought I would have lots of happy birdies availing themselves of the amenities I provided. But no. Not a one. I figured maybe they just chose to turn up when I was out or at work or whatever. As the months went by I came to the conclusion the local bird population was snubbing my water station and frequenting some other location for their hydration needs.
I didn’t take the bird baths away, but I did forget to refill them regularly (possibly the reason the birds chose to stay away). Wally, my garden Wattlebird (cranky guardian of my grevilleas) sits near them every day and watches me eat my breakfast through the window (I mean he watches through the window…I’m not eating my breakfast through a window – that would be strange). I’ve never seen him partake of any water though – even on the hottest days. He is a quite large bird though, so perhaps doesn’t feel safe perching on the swinging bird bath. He’s also quite territorial so it’s possible he has been warning all the other birds away.
My little Willy Wagtail, whose melodic song means Spring is only a few short weeks away, also likes to hang out NEAR the bird baths but I haven’t seen him actually perch on them or take a drink. I think they’re just mocking me now – my water isn’t up to their standards apparently.
But, hallelujah! This morning as I ate my very late breakfast ( I slept in – it was glorious, but now I have wasting-the-day guilts) I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a bird DRINKING OUT OF THE BIRD BATH!!! A bird I had never seen before in my garden, was happily having a long drink out of my bird bath, swinging away in the breeze and enjoying a spot of sunshine (it’s been raining heavily all morning – hence the bird bath actually having water in it!). I managed to get a couple of sneaky photos of him before he noticed me, peering out of the window and doing a silent happy dance.
I think he is a Grey Butcherbird. I have seen them before, mostly down by the foreshore, but never in my garden before. I was so happy to see him! But then a bit sad because I will be moving soon and will have to start the whole wooing-birds-into-my-garden process all over again. I don’t really even HAVE a garden in my new place (if I ever actually get to settlement) so will have to put in lots of natives to attract the local bird population. A garden with no birdies is so sad!
I didn’t know a lot about Butcherbirds, so did a bit of research. I found that they have a lovely, warbling song, a bit like a magpie (listen HERE) and that they can be quite aggressive during nesting season. I also read that they “..prey on small animals, including birds, lizards and insects, as well as some fruits and seeds. Uneaten food may be stored in the fork or a branch or impaled. Grey Butcherbirds sit on an open perch searching for prey which, once sighted, they pounce on. Most mobile prey is caught on the ground, though small birds and insects may be caught in flight. Feeding normally takes place alone, in pairs or in small family groups…” (Thanks, Birdlife Australia)
He’s a handsome fellow and I’m glad he stopped by. I’m hoping he feels safe enough to come again and maybe bring a friend. Maybe sing a song or two (now that I know what I’m listening for!).
Thank YOU for dropping by, too. My blog is a little lack-lustre these days due to being in the midst of packing boxes and house-buying dramas and just being in a general state of disarray. Please bear with me while I muddle through my messy life.