Don’t mind the birds


My partner and I recently moved house. The lady that lived here before us was really lovely, however the day before we moved in she issued me with a warning: birds. 

Now she gingerly told me in that sweet, innocent little old lady voice that there was one little magpie that visited her from time to time. She said she used to feed it and to be careful as, if you leave the screen door open, it will wander into the house. 

Okay. A magpie. No worries. I can handle that, I thought. Now here’s the thing, she may have underplayed the number of birds she fed… 

Our first day we played host to 8 rainbow lorikeets, 4 butcherbirds and two magpies! Now, I like birds, but the “one little Magpie” story was starting to smell a bit fishy… well I guess she was trying to ease me into it. 

Anyway, I decided I wanted to keep the local wildlife around. The next day I bought some wild bird seed and placed in an a small saucer outside. Since then we’ve had dribs and drabs of birds coming and going, and it’s great to listen to them sing their songs. Occasionally they’ll pop their heads up at the door and demand more, but there’s something nice about it.

That brings me to today. Wow, today was something indeed! I drove in and walked into the house. Hearing some chirping outside I saw a couple of rainbow lorikeets out the front. No worries, I grabbed the bird seed and went around to the side to fill the saucer. Within seconds there was literally a flock of 30 of them on my fence and in the bushes!

Luckily I love them and think they are some of the most beautiful birds. I’ve found I’ve really started to appreciate the beauty of the animals around me. Even crows, which I know sound horrible when you compare them to the voices of lorikeets and magpies. (I even had a student once ask if the sound of a crow was some sort of rabid monkey). But, when you sit back and just watch them up close, how huge they are and how intelligent they are, you have to admire how majestic they really can be.

Other regular visitors to our quiet little suburban street (only 20 minutes from Nathan campus) include Australian wood ducks, magpies, currawongs and butcher birds. I’ve also spotted a few galahs and cockatoos around but they aren’t the type to come and sit on our fence… at least not yet.

Often when you think of Australian animals you think of the usual suspects: kangaroos and koalas and, if you happen to think of birds, maybe kookaburras. But we have so many amazingly beautiful birds right in our backyard and I wanted to share them with you. Here are a few photos of our regular visitors. 

If you’re on campus (especially Nathan or Mt Gravatt that are surrounded by Toohey Forest), you’re probably likely to see some of the guys (plus kookaburras!) around. Next time, just take a moment to appreciate their beauty. And if you’re really keen to see (and hear) the amazing rainbow lorikeets, head to the intersection at Sunnybank Plaza of an afternoon before dusk. Like clockwork, as the sun starts to set, flocks of these gorgeous birds fly from the trees to make their way home to their nests. It’s definitely an experience!

(Or if you’re on the Gold Coast check out Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary or O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat for more amazing wild Australian bird experiences).

Do keep in mind though that, at the end of the day, these are wild animals and with Spring here it’s important to keep an eye out for magpies etc which have a tendency to swoop to protect their nests.

Curious about some of the birds that visit your backyard? Birds in Backyards has a really awesome bird finder which helped me to identify some of the birds in this post.

– Christy



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  • John
    August 2, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    For the first time I have two brown butcher birds, born some seven months ago. How long will it be before they turn black

    • Bronwyn Ware
      August 3, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Thanks for your comment. Not too sure when they change colour. You’ll have to keep an eye on them and let us know!