Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The birds of Canberra

One thing that no-one mentioned as we prepared to move to Canberra several years ago was the amount of birdlife. Arriving in the leafy inner south, our orientation walks around Barton, Griffith and Kingston soon became exercises in tyro bird watching.

Magpies and Pied Currawongs swooped through the parks and open spaces, while Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Little Corellas lowered the tone in noisy scrums on the grass.

Here a Superb Fairy Wren and his harem decimated the local insect population, while further on a family of White-winged Choughs helped out the garden maitenance men by re-distributing mulch in their search for a snack.

Down by the lake, Black Swans muscled their way across the murky waters of Burley Griffin and seagulls rolled past huddles of nervy pigeons like sailors on shore leave looking for a hot feed and a fist fight. Walking back from the National Library of Australia was a similar story - if that wasn't the less favoured end of an Australian Shoveler vigorously bobbing to your left then it was probably their freckled cousin.

There are, to put it mildly, a shedload of birds in Canberra. As my peach-fuzz-cheeked old Grandmother used to say: Are you with me?

Now you could go and purchase a guide to Canberra birds (as seen in the illustration above), but for an instant hit of local twitchery goodness, swing by Trevor's Birding.

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