Friday, 21 March 2008

Boids--An Aside

Boids—An Aside

The CameraTrapCodger has dobbed me in on this one. It stems from Jochen’s Bell Tower Birding invitation to post a fun bird blog and label the illustrations with only 6 words. Then pass on to another set of recipients with the same invitation. Well I’ll leave that to you readers and I’ll just provide a few of my favourite pix.

“Fluffy, Cuddly, Friendly, Silkie Egg Factories”. Until moving to the tropics, I always had chickins “Chooks” in Australia. Japanese (or Chinese depending on your references) Silkies are everyone’s favourites. They are comical, friendly and very “user-friendly" when it comes to the garden. But in the tropics we have problems they don’t have in temperate suburbs—snakes—and big snakes. Pythons just love Japanese Silkies. [Pythons will be the subject of up-coming blogposts, so stay tuned.] And they get almost every chook that you might keep. So—no chooks in Kuranda, it’s just too heart-breaking.

“Little Elmer- Friend for 14 years” Little Elmer was a Silvereye, Zosterops lateralis, we found in an abandoned nest late one cold November night. His mother had been frightened away and he was left to die. But we saved him and fed him on a mixture of food suggested by the Camera Trap Codger some years prior to our find. He lived in the house for 14 years and we learned a lot about Silvereye behaviour watching him. I thought that our guest might have been heading for a longevity record, but after discussion with colleague Michael Lenz, we discovered that banded Silvereyes had been captured some 11 years after having originally being caught. So that would mean that they had been alive for longer than that, perhaps several years before hitting the mist nets. If you want to learn more about Silvereyes just have a look at this site on Silvereyes.

“Perico-A Real feathered Mexican Spitfire”. Yup, it’s me on the left, in the field in Mexico in 1964 on a fieldtrip with the ES Ross family and one of my mentors, Dr Paul H. Arnaud, Jr on the right. We obtained the parrot in transit and I had him for a time before “depositing” him with Ms Jacqueline Schonwald (The bird hated my father!)


“Aviary Days-Fun in New Jersey”. I did live in New Jersey for 5 years from 1970-75 in a wonderful area known as the Pine Barrens. This area of natural vegetation had a unique mixture of flora and fauna. We had an indoor aviary of exotic birds. At that time it was possible to go to the pet shop and buy all sorts of exotic birds, many of which were wild-caught. These days, and especially in Australia, this would be unthinkable. You can see in this picture a beautiful Lady Gouldian Finch. Little did I realise that some 35 years later I would be living in Australia and within 100 km of where these birds occur naturally. What a place!