In my yard I always see sparrows, and often swallows dipping in the swimming pool and zooming off again.
Spotted Turtle doves and Crested Pigeons are regulars. We have a few blackbirds around at the moment, and those silly grey and pink galahs are often flying crazily around the place. Willie Wagtails are regular, and so are Murray Magpies and Australian Magpies.
Sometimes we have birds of prey in the sky around the place - most often Black-Shouldered Kites.
Most of the birds mentioned are birds native to South Australia, some in fact to broader Australia. Some of the birds were brought to Australia by settlers from England, a couple of hundred years ago. I keep a record of the bird species that have visited our place.
So, whenever I hear or see a ‘new’ bird, one that’s not already on my list, I try my hardest to identify it.
At the moment, after living here since November 1988, there are around 45 different birds on the list. I get quite excited when I see a bird to find out about.
When it happens, I dig out two books I have, both of which have all of the birds that can be found in Australia, with illustrations and information. Finding the right bird in the book and matching it with the bird I see in real life is a game I play, a fun detecting game!
Once I’ve identified a new bird, I feel like a great detective, the Sherlock Holmes of the ornithologist world, perhaps. I also feel a kind of ownership of the birds that visit us at home. Not in the sense of capturing them, but more in the sense of having them as welcome friends.
Sitting on my veranda and communing with my ‘friends’ and meditating on Nature, clouds, the wind, flight …
This is how I stay centred in my life, how I am able to remain positive no matter what happens.
One of my favourite roles back when I was working as a co-ordinator, was to run a poetry competition. This competition has a theme of “Birds of the Adelaide Plains”.
This is where I live, in the Mallala district, which is 60 km north of the capital city of South Australia. It was lovely to receive the poetry entries for the competition, reading poetic the words of other bird lovers! I have gone on to host an annual poetry competition every year since that first one, but the “Birds” one still fills me with joy whenever I remember it.
I live and I see life all around me – creatures who face challenges, find food and shelter, and who live on, raising families, cheeping and chirping as I look on with delighted interest. I’m not a professional scientific observer, I am a person who loves birds, and is fascinated by them! Life is good.