Pretty much every morning, we have to run the gauntlet of dozens of beady eyes.
We’ve got into the habit of feeding our local birds. There are loads of them, of a good dozen different species. Birdie Breakie consists of a wild bird seed and fruit block, fruit peelings and scraps, bread scraps, a few handfuls of coarse oatmeal and occasionally some meat scraps.
You’ve seen lorikeet frenzy already, but the ducks have become regular and endearing visitors.
The ibis are a little less welcome; they’re pushy and do lots of noisy honking and flapping around, but they do eat a lot of bugs, so they’re tolerated. The ducks take no nonsense from them, and will swiftly move along any ibis trying to move in on their breakfast.
The newcomers are the Spangled Drongos. I love these guys. Not only do they have the coolest name, but they’re stunt flyers. Their natural food is insects, caught on the wing, and we’ve learned that if we toss meat or bread scraps into the air, they’ll swoop and dive, and not a crumb will reach the ground.
It’s impossible to capture on camera (unless I get out the camera handbook and learn how to use the movie function properly), but it’s spectacular to watch, and they’ve learned that we’re a regular supply of easy food, so there’s a crowd of them on the washing line every morning. They’e surprisingly bold, but given what skilled flyers they are, perhaps it’s not so very surprising…
They’re pretty, too. They have a brilliant scarlet eye, a black velvet head and ‘cape’, and iridescent glossy satin back, tail and wings. Their head has a sort of ridge or tuft on either side, which gives the effect of a flat top haircut, and when they’re displaying, they can ruffle this up so they get a sort of crest. They’re talkative, as well, not a pretty song but it’s a pleasant background noise, even with twenty of them all at it at once.
How can I resist a lineup of slightly nervous beady eyes at the edge of the patio, wondering what’s for breakfast today, and would I please hurry up and serve…?