Birds in your Garden, Street & Reserve in Melville

The City of Melville hosted a three-hour bird workshop by the DRB on 7th September, and about 45 members and visitors attended. Prior to the workshop, two of us spent an hour doing a bird count at the workshop location: the AH Bracks Library on Canning Highway. The list was given to participants as a handout to encourage them to build their own lists. It was enthusiastically received, even though only 13 common birds were seen. Keeping such a list was obviously a new idea to many. See page 2 for list.

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Little corella – Cacatua sanguinea in the Port Jackson Fig

Dozens of Little Corellas (Cacatua sanguinea) were densely packed into the large Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) outside the library window and numerous Red Wattlebirds (Anthochaera carunculata) were feeding on flowers on the Coral Flame trees (Erythrina sp.) near the highway, while a lone Australian Magpie was fossicking on the oval.

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Red wattlebird – Anthochaera carunculata in the Coral flame tree

Much interest was also generated when we spoke about the value of bird baths and how to make a simple one for the garden. We have six bird baths at home and tend to forget that others don’t have any. As part of our role at the Nats Club is to help inspire people in a love and understanding of our natural environment, it’s a good reminder that sometimes a simple bird bath can be all that is required to spark greater interest. We ended by recommending to the City of Melville that they place a bird bath amongst the native vegetation around the library.

Australian magpie – Cracticus tibicen on the oval outside the library (all by R Green)

Many other topics pertaining to birds, mainly local to the area, were also included. We discussed the types of food different birds need, which local native plants to grow to attract more birds, how to identify ‘little brown birds’, the number of robins we have, the behaviour of cuckoos, the way that birds make sounds with a syrinx, how to use a bird book and even the value of dead trees for perching and nesting—and much more.

Questions from the group were very varied and came from all ages. We enjoy running inter-generational workshops which don’t separate people into different age groups as we can all learn from each other. Participants brought bird calls and photos on their phones for identification. It was action packed and a great way for the DRB Nats to meet the public. Thanks to the City of Melville and all who came to share our passion for building bird gardens and going bird-watching!

Rachel Green