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Birds are Fascinating: Christmas Bird Reading...

One of my favourite times over the Christmas/New Year period, is that quieter 'lull' between the two celebrations. It can be a wonderful time to get out and do some peaceful birding, to observe and think about what you are seeing - and its also a great time to learn more about birds by reading.

The following are articles that are all worth reading – some about the birds of King Island specifically and others about birds more generally. Enjoy – and Happy Christmas to all.

We don't have budgies on King Island but they are an Australian icon. Found in the arid inland of Australia, they are joyful, entertaining and exciting. They live and die fast...

Read about the most likely species to go extinct – even before the Orange Bellied Parrot – and the 3rd most likely. They live on King Island.

As suggested in this article from the Guardian, little brown birds aren't loved like those with bright colours - but they are ecologically just as important. However, some species have been brought back from near extinction before. It takes love, dedication and bloody-mindedness. Are we up to it? Should we try? Please add your comments to our Facebook Page or send an email via Contact Us

King Island Scrubtit - photo by Adrian Boyle

Why are birds important to us?

Research tells us that spending time in nature, being ‘with’ it rather than ‘against’ or oblivious to it, is good for our health and sense of wellbeing. This brief video talks about the importance of birds in our lives.

Silvereyes Water Frolics - Photo by Paul Evans

Should we feed birds or provide water for them? Can we encourage birds to our gardens?

If having birds around is good for us as research suggests, how can we encourage more to our gardens and farmlands. Should we provide food for them or does it harm them? What about planting for birds? This article gives an overview about providing hand-outs to birds and some links about how to bring birds to your open space.

Collared Sparrow-hawk cools down in a bird bath - photo by Paul Evans

The impacts of global warming on bird migrations. Have they started to change?

One of the things that the Wings on King project is looking for on King Island, are signs that birds that rarely visit King Island are visiting more often or arriving and departing earlier or later. Or are they moving in? We are looking for change in bird behaviours that may be triggered by a warming climate. This is certainly happening overseas as this article discusses. We are starting to see a southward drift in some of our Australian birds too.

Ruddy Turnstones migrate to and from King Island to their northern hemisphere breeding grounds every year. Impacts from global warming on the success of both their journeys and breeding are thought to be contributing to their diminishing populations. Only meticulous research can tell us and the Victorian Wader Studies Group is carrying out some of this research. Photo by Bob Ravich

The Future – if we don’t adapt and allow other species to live with us, what happens?

Of 91,523 species (of all types) recently assessed by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), 25,821 are threatened and of those 5,583 are critically endangered - i.e. they are very likely to become extinct in the near future. Two of those are our King Island subspecies – the KI Brown Thornbill and the KI Scrubtit. Can we accept this situation - shrug our shoulders and say 'sad but I can't help' or should we be working to prevent this? Should we change how we manage our lives and our priorities and allow space for other species to live and thrive as well as ourselves? This article provides some brutal facts but it is information that we need to be aware of - to know what is happening around us and to decide what's important to us.

What About Birds? Fascinating and diverse - living dinosaurs...

If you just want to learn more about birds this is a good place to start

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