27 May 2019

What's in the backyard?

Over the years we've lived here, I've grown to love the homing pigeons that live a few doors down. You can set your clock by them in the afternoon because they're let out at 4pm to fly for an hour before they voluntarily return to their home. I see them flying in group formation, in ever-widening circles, over our house and on the edge of the forest behind us. The leaders swoop in and out and seem to take turns at leading the group as they fly about.

One of the things I love about them is that they're a huge group of birds, possibly 80 or 90, and they're so quiet. Often I only know they're overhead when I see their shadows rush by over the lawn. But sometimes they come so close I hear a "swoosh" overhead and when I look up, they're gone again to continue the freedom flight they will never escape from.

It's surprising what you see in our backyard at times. We have Currawongs feasting on our native fig tree at the moment.  Groups of them fly in and out then perch on a horizontal branch and start eating small juicy figs. I love seeing our native wildlife eating local fruits. The willie-wagtails have returned for the cooler months. They arrive mid-autumn and the flashy black and white male always makes himself known to us. During the day he flies in and out, swooping and hopping around the yard.

This morning, the bullies of the backyard, the noisy miners, tried to harass the willie-wagtail. Willie had swooped into the front verandah to watch me sweep. Sometimes there will be an Asian gecko in the sweepings and he'll grab it and fly off.  Asian geckos are an introduced species and are killing off our smaller native geckos. But this morning the willie-wagtail took no notice of the miners, hopped over to the edge of the verandah, then watched and waited, but there were no geckos today.

We've had a family of kookaburras living in the trees surrounding our home since we arrived here. They are blue-winged kookaburras and they love sitting on the fence next to our compost heap. We've seen them dive bomb into the compost and come up with a grub or grasshopper and once I saw one of the young ones swoop down on to the lawn and grab a small snake. He flew to the fence and whip cracked the snake, breaking it's neck before he ate it.

At various times of the year we've also had the odd echidna and possum, foxes, a few huge snakes and bandicoots.  We encourage wildlife to live in our backyard and we reap the benefits of them being part of the biodiversity while providing us with a balanced system in our backyard.  What animals live outside your house?
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