Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gang Gang Cockatoos

A male Gang Gang Cockatoo on my verandah yesterday

These very funny fellas have been hanging around the past few days on our new back verandah and I wondered what they are... They have the most horrible 'creaky door' voices and there is about 6-7 hanging around at the moment.

I finally contacted Carol at the Blue Mountains Bird Club and she has given me such insite into bird feeding and watching (no, I am not a bird watcher!)... anyway if you are looking for a blog post about fabric, retro stuff, etc then don't read on.

The house we have just moved into comes with a bird feeder and a big container of feed. I don't feel quite right about it as these guys are supposed to be out foraging, right?

Carol had emailed me, "You are lucky to have them in your garden because they're a threatened species in NSW and seem to have been generally declining over the past few years."

From Carol: feeding - against: Regarding feeding, there are a few problems this can create although lots of people do it. Problems are that it can be an easy way for disease to be transferred between birds, birds becoming dependent, poor nutrition (though a good seed mix shouldn't be a problem for the seed eaters), permanent food source interfering with the natural movement/migration patterns of birds, and very importantly, you can end up attracting and helping the wrong species, i.e. the species that are most adaptable and aggressive to the detriment of the smaller birds. For example, there's no doubt that bird feeding contributes to the proliferation of Sulphur-crested
Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets (the latter has only moved into Katoomba in the last couple of years). If meat eating birds such as Pied Currawongs, Kookaburras, etc. are attracted this can have a severe impact on the small birds in the area, which actually need our help more.

Carol: Feeding for: On the other hand, many people love feeding birds and if it increases appreciation of birdlife, that can be a good thing. So it's a complex topic and I think people need to be aware of all these issues. If you feed them, be on guard against sick birds: keep the feeding area clean of droppings etc, and try to restrict the feed if you start getting Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, etc. I don't feed birds myself and ideally I believe the best way to help birds is to provide suitable habitat, e.g. thickets of dense shrubs, local native plants, leaf litter, etc. A birdbath is also a great idea.

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