Adventures in ‘gardenside’ birding

I opened my front door today to find a small group of galahs (and two yellow rosellas who flew off before I could get my camera out) sitting on the front verge and eating seeds. Knowing the state of my front verge, I suspect they were eating cathead (Tribulus terrestris) seeds, so I hope they come back tomorrow and eat some more, because the fewer cathead seeds that germinate on my front verge next summer the better.

Galahs (Eolophus roseicapillus) helping address my weed problem

Galahs (Eolophus roseicapillus) are one of those species with the unfortunate distinction of being so familiar a sight that few people ever bother to stop to look at them. I must plead guilty to this as well, but I do like to take the time to sit and watch them on occasion, and it must be acknowledged that they’re kinda pretty. We’re a bit spoiled in Australia, because so many of our common birds are large and brightly coloured, and it’s easy to accept this as normal and forget that out of the tens of thousands of bird species worldwide, great big pink things that come and eat weed seeds on your front verge are actually rather unusual.

Galahs – proof that even being big, pink, and noisy isn’t enough to get you noticed

Sadly, the galahs were disturbed by my leaving my verandah to walk to my car, and flew off. I needed to get going though, because I was helping someone set up a new veggie garden in another part of town. While taking a break from gardening I looked up at the shed and noticed we were being watched.

Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) watching from the shed

Pied Butcherbirds (Cracticus nigrogularis) are another species that I suspect get overlooked a lot – in this case because many people will see a large black and white bird and just assume it’s a magpie, and not look more closely. The most obvious difference, when viewing the birds from the front, is that Australian Magpies (Cracticus tibicen) are entirely black on their underparts, while Pied Butcherbirds are white with a black head and ‘bib’.

And speaking of overlooking commonly seen species, I do not appear to have any magpie photos at hand to show you the difference, so here’s one I pinched from Wikimedia Commons.

Australian Magpie, photo by fir0002 | Copied from Wikimedia Commons

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