Trouble In The Garden

At present with the first days of spring upon us we have several birds nesting in the garden. Amongst the Bougainvillea on the back fence several white cheeked honey eaters (Phylidonyris nigra) have made nests. I’m not entirely sure how many there are in there as the thorns prevent me from having a closer look.


White-cheeked Honeyeater by Paul Amyes on
One of the white-cheeked honeyeaters, Phylidonyris nigra, on our lemon tree at the back of the garden.



The other avian residents of the garden are the bossy and busy white browed babblers (Pomatostomus superciliosus). They are quite raucous as they pick amongst the mulch looking for insects, spiders , small amphibians, reptiles and will also  and seeds. There are three nests that I know about in the peppercorn trees and it is difficult to know exactly how many birds there are as they have quite complicated living arrangements.

“The White-browed Babbler builds a domed stick nest, with a hooded side entrance. It builds both brood (for breeding) and roost (for resting) nests. Breeding pairs are monogamous, but they form co-operative breeding groups comprising two to four breeding pairs and two to eight non-breeding helpers. Only the breeding female incubates the eggs, though other birds in the group feed her and the young birds. Cooperatively breeding groups occupy a home-range, but there are complex interactions within and between groups.”

Birds In Backyards


White-browed babbler by Paul Amyes on
Hills Hoist washing lines supporting birds for generations. White-browed babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus), York, Western Australia.



All have lain eggs and the females are sitting tight on the clutches of eggs while the attentive males flit around the garden finding food for them.


White-browed babbler by Paul Amyes on
About to head home with tonight’s tea. White-browed babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus), York, Western Australia.



I observe all these antics as I hang out washing, cut the grass and other domestic human duties. It all sounds like paradise. Unfortunately just as happened in the original Garden of Eden so a pair are about to upset the apple cart so to speak. This pair aren’t snakes (they’re still asleep in the woodpile) and it definitely isn’t the resident Adam and Eve (er that’s me and the missus). No it is the two miscreants below who are to blame.


Laughing Kookaurras by Paul Amyes on
Laughing Kookaburras perched on our TV aerial looking for small animals to prey upon.



Kookaburras (Daceelo novaeguineae) normally eat small lizards, large insects and other invertebrates but they are not averse to raiding nests and taking small chicks. The babblers and honeyeaters all take cover when the Kookaburras take their observation post on the TV aerial. I think this is going to end in tears.