January 29, 2015

The Watagan Mountains is a bird watchers paradise! Bird watching can be as relaxing as a sitting in your backyard or keeping your eyes peeled on your next hike or picnic. Even better, it is something you can do as a family – it gets you outdoors and connecting with each other as well as the environment.

Some birds you may see or hear in the Watagans

• Bellbird
• Kookaburra
• Gang Gang Cockatoo
• King Parrots
• Crimson Rosella
• Golden Whistler
• Rufous Fantail
• Blue Kingfisher
• Lyrebird
• Satin Bowerbird
• Brown-Cuckoo Dove

With some help from Birds in Backyards, we have put together some guidelines to assist in identifying any bird you see.

Take your time and watch the bird for as long as you can to examine it’s appearance. You can also jump on the Birds in Backyards Bird Finder.

  • Size and shape – compare it to something you already know. Is it the size of a magpie or tiny like a wren? What sort of silhouette does it have? Is it shaped like a duck or like a bird of prey?
  • Distinguishing features – once you have a general outline of the bird, take notice of finer details. Look for colours and markings – check the tummy, head, back, chest, outer tail feathers, legs, eyes and feathers around the eyes for different colours and markings like stripes or spots. Look for anything unusual such as a crest or wattles on the side of the face.
  • Beak – the shape of a bill can tell you a lot about the type of bird. Does it have a long curved bill, short hooked bill or is it short and stocky?

Each bird species also has a unique way of behaving, moving, flying and feeding.

  • Behaviour – how does the bird act? Does it hang about a tree alone or it is just one of a huge flock?
  • Movement – watching a bird move around its habitat can tell you alot about it. It can allow you to see new features previously hidden by a perched bird and you can note its attitude.
  • Flight – some birds have a very distinct flight pattern, and seeing them in the air is a giveaway to their identity.

Children are naturally curious and love to learn new things – take advantage of that and get them outdoors with you. Start in your own backyard, identify what birds are visiting your backyard and discover their daily routines. Encourage you kids to create a habitat for the birds such as DIY nest boxes, birdbaths and bird feeders featured in our previous blog post.

Live outside the box at Watagan Park

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