It’s better than yours.
Damn right, it’s better than yours. I could teach you, but I’d have to charge.
Or, alternatively, I could just tell you all about it.
My Dad and Step Mum have the most beautiful parrots in their yard each day. I’ve always watched enviously from their kitchen, sipping a hot cup of tea and looking out over their mostly-native Australian garden, with blossoms and green aplenty, to their bird feeder. It hosts a wide variety of lorikeet, rosella, king parrot, galah and the occasional cockatoo (which they can keep, thank you). For my birthday eighteen months ago, they bought me a bird feeder. There are so many parrots in our area, I hear them every day and see them flying over our block. I longed for them to be in my yard. So I began putting out seed and waited (im)patiently for the birds to come.
They never came.
Dad came over one day and had a look at the standard supermarket mix I was putting out for the birds.
“No, no, no,” he said. “It has to be a plain mix of sunflower seeds, that’s all, none of the other stuff.”
It took me a while to find a plain mix as most commercial seeds I have seen have a blend. Even still, the birds weren’t coming. It took almost a year (my Dad estimated six months) before I saw the first Eastern Rosella land in the small gum in our front yard. She sat a while and looked around, but failed to find the seed. She came back a few times but our friendship never lasted. From that first visit to the next it was a good three or four months. Then the King Parrots came; a male and a female. They came daily at 8.30am and 4.30pm for at least a month. The female always came first to check out the scene while her somewhat wimpy hubby waited up high in our larger eucalyptus. If there was no seed in the feeder she would come to my window and squark at me until I took out the seed. Bossy little lady she was.
The King Parrots moved on and I was sad. I could hear their calls from neighbouring trees and would go to my window, expectantly. But as the seasons have changed, so too have the birds. For the past week we have had a flock of eight Rainbow Lorikeets spend the majority of their day in our front garden. Their little personalities are hilariously different to the King Parrots, who seemed to have more self-respect. The Rainbow Lorikeets fight and squabble and yell and hang upside-down and they are so delightful, I can barely drag myself away from the window when they are around. The resident Noisy Miners had a good go at getting rid of them but there is bravery in numbers when you’re a bird. Or a human, for that matter.
I’ve had to go back to the bird seed mix recently as I couldn’t find plain sunflower seeds (and I had fed the birds all the organic million-dollar sunflower seeds I had initially purchased for human consumption… oops, sorry kids). And when I’ve checked the feeder after filling it with the mix, the birds have indeed only eaten the black sunflower seeds and left the other seeds behind.
The girls jump up and down when they see parrots in the yard. They have looked them up in books and taken our bird book to kinder and school to show their friends. They have read about the birds and learnt their calls. They can now distinguish between two to three types of bird calls when we stand on our back verandah and listen. I think that’s pretty impressive for a three and a six year old.
What about you, what wildlife do you have in your yard?