Monday, September 22, 2008

Birding in my Backyard

One of the things I find most frustrating about birding in my backyard is the number of birds that come down briefly into my yard and fly off again very quickly. They just don't like the area! That's understandable of course as in the process of turning this into land suitable for housing all the large trees and shrubs have been taken out. Since coming here I have planted things as quickly as possible but none of the trees are very large yet.
Last year I had brief views of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes but none stayed long enough for me to even get the camera out. This year they have been back briefly and I was able to at least get a few photos. I hear them fairly often but I think they are possibly over the road from here in an area of National Park.
In May I got photos of this bird – an immature bird.
In late June this one came and sat on the electricity wires on the roadside and looked things over for a while.
A couple of months later again and quite a group of birds were next door in the big pine tree. I was very interested to see the way the birds were moving their wings as they sat and called to each other. I have been told by an experienced birder that they used to be called “Shufflewings” for this display. I have now also found this name listed in the Readers' Digest Book of Australian Birds. This little video clip shows this action but was taken handheld and is a bit shaky!


  1. I was just reading last night about the name Shufflewing. Apparently most of the birds in the family do it. I hadn't noticed before so thanks for posting the video. I'll know what to look out for next time.

    Great pics especially the immature bird.

  2. Thanks Mosura, and thanks for encouraging me to post about these birds. (I nearly decided your post about these birds made mine unnecessary!)

  3. G'day Mick,
    Nice post. I often find that the wing shuffle is a great identifier for the BF Cuckoo-shrike when you only get a glimpse through the bush. If I can watch the landing and manage to catch 'the shuffle', I call that a tick.

  4. It was new for me, Gouldiae, but unmistakable once seen.

  5. Both good pictures Mick, a darn sight better than I've been able to get so far, just can't seem to get close enough. You mentioned a group of them, I once counted over seventy in a paddock, must have been lots of grubs there.

  6. Thanks Duncan. Your group of 70+ must have been great to watch. Mine was only a few birds but enough to make that interesting group sound.

  7. Hi Mick, thanks for posting the video clip, although we have them on Mt.Lofty, I had not observed this particular trait.
    I've just postd some birds who helped with breakfast north of Sydney.

  8. Nice to have you visit Arija. This year was the first time I had seen that behavior from the BF Cuckoo-shike. Most of the time they seem quite shy and I don't see much of them.