Friday, July 19, 2024
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The sound of Australia

Today’s Bird of the Day was nominated by wildlife ecologist Grainne Cleary, whose favourite bird is the magpie.

“For me, these birds are the sound of Australia with their beautiful song and how they interact with people.”

Magpies are common in urban areas and often do well in gardens. People often feed the birds mince meat and Cleary suggested preparing the mince using an insectivore mix to give the meat a more nutritional balance.

Cleary’s primary area of interest is working with the public to gain the best conservation outcomes for urban wildlife. She is particularly interested in how people interact with wildlife in their gardens.

“As Australia becomes more urbanised, gardens are becoming an important sanctuary for our wildlife.

“What we do in our own garden and around our own space will affect what species survive.”

She said management of private gardens lay largely outside direct government control and therefore various strategies existed for incentivising homeowners into wildlife friendly gardening activities.

She said people could encourage birds into their back garden through providing water in the form of birdbaths, and keeping cats indoors.

“Consider growing dense vegetation layers so a range of bird sizes can hide and feel safe,” she said.

“Think about your garden from a bird’s point of view. Too many flowering plants such as hybrid grevilleas can cause an increase in noisy miners that can then dominate an area and run off smaller birds.”

Cleary said we needed to share our space with the amazing bird life this country has to offer. If we do, we will be rewarded by their presence, their song, and their unique behaviour.

“When given the chance, birds enrich our lives and remind us we need to protect this country so our children and grandchildren can enjoy it.”

Cleary’s latest book Why Do Birds Do That? contains over 50 answers to many of the common questions people ask about birds and their lives, such as: Why do birds sing in the mornings? Why are some birds so colourful and others are not? Why do starlings form murmurations? Why do birds have three eyelids? and Why do birds attack their own reflections?

Her previous book, Your Backyard Birds: Understanding the behaviours, habits and needs of our brilliant birds provides insights about the lives of Australia’s innovative birds, with real stories from bird-loving citizen scientists.

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Follow @southsydneyherald on Instagram to see our birds of the day and learn about protecting urban biodiversity.

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