This week in Australia is National Bird Week, 18 -24 October 2021. Anyone can take part in the great Aussie Bird Count. If you missed it this week, then there is always next year.
We have many visiting species of birds in our backyard. This is due to living steps away from a park – 31 hectares of bushland. It has plenty of space for bush walkers, runners, and mountain bikers. So much space that it never gets crowded.
Wherever we go, in the great outdoors in Australia, we find the same species of birds flock together. Birds look like they have a carefree life. They float on the wind and fly through the trees. But they have a busy life sourcing their food through insects, nectar, seeds, and fruit.
At our place we prefer to grow trees and shrubs that provide food for the birds. Some people seem to love feeding wildlife. But this does not help the birds. It takes them away from their usual habit of finding food – a food source that is best for their health. Many people are not aware that providing seeds or other food for birdlife can cause aggression. This happens as different species of birds compete for the same food supply. All provided by well-intentioned humans.
There are also well-meaning humans that love cats but do not keep them confined. Cats are natural predators and birds are their prey. Domestic and feral cats are responsible for killing over two billion birds, mammals, and reptiles every year in Australia.
In many ways birds are like people. Those of us who have similar tastes and interests will be found flocking together. People who have an interest in birds often come together through a bird watching club. If you like hiking, or tennis, or basketball then you will gather with others who have a similar interest. If you enjoy watching football and go to a game, you will find that everyone else there has the same interest as you. All wearing their team colours. Then there are writing groups, music groups, painting (art) groups. Those with a like mind, flock together.
It is the same in neighbourhoods. Every bird has its own preferred habitat, a place to live. Like us human we all need a place to live. Like a bird building a nest, we build a home and put all the ‘things’ in our nest to make it comfortable and functional.
Bird watching is a relaxing past-time. Sitting, waiting, and watching there is much to discover about birds. I notice that birds eat slowly. They enjoy their food. Birds are never in a hurry. They arise early to greet the day. Birds eat breakfast. They pay attention to their surroundings to ensure their safety. Birds preen themselves. Yes, they take care of their appearance. They sing when they are happy. When they are tired, they pause and take a break on a tree branch. They go to great lengths to care for their young. There is much we can learn from the habits of birds.