With the mulberry tree in full fruit at the moment, we are once again battling the birds to try and get some for ourselves. As I was ill, I didn't get around the pruning the tree in winter so that we could net it, but truth be told, we all quite enjoy the parading wildlife so we are prepared to share (for a while anyway).
One pair of birds we are seeing very regularly this year are Mr and Mrs Figbird; Mr Figbird has a lovely olive green back and a very distinctive red eye patch, as you can just see in my photo below.
There are quite content to munch out on the mulberries, then sit and chill out while I have a cuppa and enjoy their company, but the minute I grab a camera, regardless of how surreptitiously I try to do it, they suddenly go all shy on me and it's very hard to get a decent photo! You might be able glimpse Mrs Figbird amongst the foliage below:
As you can see, she's quite different-looking to her partner, but still very pretty - click on the link above to see some better pics on the Australian Birds in Backyards website.
Another bird we have been seeing a lot of is the Common Koel. Alas I have been unable to get a decent photo of either the male or the female but they are also very different in appearance - the male is jet black with a red eye and the female is a mottled brown. (By the way, don't ask me how to pronounce "koel", as I don't know; I'm going with ko-el to rhyme with Joel, as that is what one of their calls sounds like to me.)
The interesting thing about the Common Koel is that it is a member of the cuckoo family, and like other cuckoos, it lays it's egg in another bird's nest. When it hatches, the baby bird kicks the other eggs (or other baby birds) out of the nest so that it can monopolise the 'mother' for food. The Birds in Backyards website also conducts a survey on sightings of the Common Koel, which we are participating in, with the girls help of course :-)
Anyway, this morning while I was out feeding the chooks, I spotted a bird which looked similar to the female Common Koel, but slightly different, and when I went looking for more information I discovered that it is a juvenile bird - most likely it has parasitised the Figbirds we usually see here in the garden, which is sort of a pity, but I guess that's life in nature isn't it?
While we were on the Birds in Backyards website, we also signed up for their general survey on backyard birds. Lots of school holiday fun! Go check it out if you'd like some more information about your local birds, it's a real goldmine of general information and sound files for 40 common birds to help you sort out who is who... Although it took me a while longer to definitely identify that one of the very loud calls we hear often around here is actually a peacock! I'll be impressed when I track down where it lives, but I suspect it must live across the gully from here on a small acreage and the sound is echoing across to us? Odd, but in a cool way :-)