Backyard birds a pretty sight in Maitland

Spring is a wonderful time of the year. The warmer weather stimulates the beautiful spring flowering shrubs and plants to burst into bud which in turn attracts a rich array of insects and birds.

Spring is also a time for the production of the next generation, with many bird species, industriously collecting nesting material.

As I write this, a male Blackbird is singing from a tall shrub, in an endeavour to attract a mate.

This is also the time of the year – September to October – when the Birds in Backyards Spring Survey is conducted by everyday people like ourselves. This citizen science project is an important way you can contribute to our knowledge of how birds use urban spaces and how people affect them.

The information gained is used in planning reports for local councils, and the management of urban birds and spaces. So, what birds do you have in your backyard?

The four most common birds in my backyard at the moment are Spotted Dove, Common Sparrow, Silvereye and Australian Magpie.

Spotted Doves were introduced from Eastern Asia in the mid 1800s and quickly became established in Eastern Australia around towns and cities.

They are actually quite “pretty” birds and eat grains, seed, and scraps. They feed on the ground and are particularly attracted to my bantam house, where they get a free feed.

Silvereyes are an Australian native bird and are small, olive grey with a white eye-ring. They migrate north in the Autumn and return in late Winter to breed.

They love the insects in the Tuckeroo tree in my yard and are particularly fond of fruit and blossoms.

Sparrows are also introduced and are actually large finches. They were introduced from Britain in 1863 and rapidly spread. They also like to live around humans and eat scraps, seeds, insects and flower buds.

The Australian Magpie is a well-known native bird and can become very attached to humans. We currently have been befriended by one that boldly flies into the house to beg for food, often singing beautifully.

Life is never dull in the world of bird watching. If you have time, register on the Birds in Backyards website and complete a survey for your garden.

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