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Red parrot

King parrot
Private collection

Birdlife of Walhalla

Believe it or not, “birders” aren't exactly the same thing as “bird-watchers”, and neither group might wish to be associated with those who call themselves “twitchers”. And every bit as whole-heartedly, vice-versa.

The thing they all have in common, though, is an interest in birds. And anyone who has spent any time in Walhalla will know that we have an enormous variety of birdlife that they might be interested in, in a relatively confined space.


(quite sufficiently regal) Magpie
Private collection

Lyre birds, for example, are a very shy species, and one that's very particular about where they live, but they're common enough in our neighbourhood to be considered garden pests for their monotonously regular habit of turning over the garden you're trying so hard to cultivate. For this reason, they're known locally as “bush chooks”, and if you ever have one flutter clumsily across the road in front of you while you're driving, you'll instantly recognize the same degree of elegance from the performance that you'd get out of a backyard chicken.

Did you by any chance see a program entitled, “Where Birdsong Began”, on “Catalyst” on the ABC in early March, 2015? Turns out that the long-held theory that Australia inherited its birdlife from the rest of the world needs to be turned on its head, because DNA analysis of some very obscure bits and pieces of some very old birds has demonstrated conclusively that far from originating elsewhere and migrating here, songbirds, parrots and pigeons in particular all originated in Australia, before spreading to other countries.

That helps in some degree to explain the rich variety of our birdlife and the extraordinary diversity of their songs, from the mimicry skills of the lyrebird and some of the parrot species through to the melodious magpie and raucous kookaburra.

If you missed it, I'd heartily recommend that you try and track it down — a replay may still be possible through ABC iview; the transcript was available here, but probably won't be there forever.

We've always known they were there, of course, but now at last, we have an introductory visitors' guide to the birdlife of Walhalla and its surrounding area, prepared by Past President Brian Brewer and his talented daughter, Lauren.

You can obtain your copy at our Corner Store, at the top of the Main Street hill, or you can simply download the PDF and print it off (two-sided) from here. It's a valuable guide to some of the birds we see fairly frequently around the town, but which may not be quite so common where you come from ...

And good luck with your spotting!

What choo lookin' at?!?


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This page was created on 27/04/15.