After the abundance of bird watching in spring, the harshness of summer can often be challenging. There are, however, great bird watching opportunities for those that are prepared for careful observation.

First, many birds have recently fledged and are being taught to fly and forage by their parents. Their persistent calls provide helpful cues for the eager bird watcher in locating a species. In one interesting example I observed a young Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo demanding food from its parents. Watching for several minutes it became obvious that the ‘parents’ were a pair of Superb Fairy Wrens. The infant cuckoo towered above both parents who were clearly struggling to keep up to its demands for food (Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoos typically deposit a single egg in the nests of fairy wrens and thornbills).

Second, as juvenile birds leave their parent’s territory they can often be found in odd locations for that species. For example, Veronica and Rick Rickard observed a female Musk Duck at Coogoorah Reserve in late December–Ellinor Campbell describes this occurrence as very unusual for this location.

In early January I was surprised to see a young Brown Goshawk, or possibly the very similar Collared Sparrowhawk, perched on one of the low bridges also in Coogoorah Reserve. Although there are occasional reports of Brown Goshawk/Collared Sparrowhawks in this location, this is an unusual perch for such a noted ambush predator.

browngoshawkBrown Goshawk

As summer continues keep an eye and an ear out for unusual avian activity in your backyard.

Rob Shepherd

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