Wednesday, 11 November 2015

He Rocks In The Treetops All Day Long

I like to think I don't pick favourites among my birdie friends but the Noisy Miners are pretty close to my heart. 

This tiny nectarivore is just so full of personality - they announce their presence in the garden with a series of dive-bombing raids on any other bird who may be there and a chorus of shrill squeaks - hence their nickname of 'Squeaker'.
Noisy Miners harass a Blue-faced Honeyeater at a feeding station

The Noisy Miner was so named because they are, well, noisy! They have a large repertoire of vocalisations and calls, ranging from tiny clicks between mother and fledgling to ear-splitting squeaking when an alarm call is needed. 
Somebody's upset about something

The Miners are quick to let me know when a Crow or Currawong has come into the yard by this constant shrilling. I can also usually tell when Maggie has come in for her afternoon tea by the Miner's disgusted objections to her being there.
Trying to bags the food before the Lorikeet gets to it

These birds are bold and seem almost fearless for their tiny size. I have seen a half-dozen or more chase a Crow out of the yard or dive-bomb a cockatoo. They mostly ignore me now when I put nectar out for them, letting me come right up to the bowl before I get an annoyed burst of "WHATWHATWHATWHATWHAT!" as they slip away and return before I am back in the house. 
A pair of Noisy Miners enjoy the shade

We call them the What-whats because of their call, which sound exactly like that. They are highly curious and have to know EVERYTHING that is going on - I quite often find a dozen or so watching me while I garden or peering in the kitchen window while I wash up.
A bird's eye view out my kitchen window

If you can see one Squeaker there will usually be a dozen not far away. A very communal bird, they eat and socialise in groups and are continually flit-flitting between food sources. The Squeakers wear their hearts on their wings, and through some very out-there behaviours you can usually tell what is going on for them. 

This many Squeakers is a common sight
They seem to spend a lot of time arguing about things, with some interesting posturing of wing ups quivering, perhaps to make themselves appear larger, or angrier, to other birds.
This could be making-up, or breaking-up!
Just like Question Time in Parliament

I was delighted just a week or so ago when I started to see the parents bringing their new fledglings out of the nest to my nectar feeders. Visually there isn't much between the adults and babies of this species, with the babies appearing a little fluffier and scruffier. The babies show the normal baby bird behaviours of hassling adults for food, calling almost continuously and a low, trembling posture with the wings out and mouth pushed forward which I have seen in many different bird fledglings this season. I assume it is the bird equivalent of hanging off mum's leg shouting 'mum! I'm hungry!'.
Cutest baby bird in the whole damn world
Except for this one

The Noisy Miner is a sometimes maligned bird in Australia for its noisy and aggressive behaviours, seeming ever-presence throughout the suburbs and lack of 'pretty' plumage like some of the parrot and lorikeet species. 

Still it is a native to the country and more than makes up for in personality what it might lack in manners and beauty. For this bird, it is what's inside that matters. Check out the Noisy Miner's call here.


Would you like the birds of our Big Back Yard at your place all year round?

Shot By A Ferrett is releasing a limited edition 'Birds of the Big Back Yard' 2016 calendar. Calendar is spiral bound, sized 8x11 inch, and features 13 different bird species. This calendar will be $25 posted anywhere in Australia, with additional postage by quote for international destinations and is only available directly from us. An ideal gift for overseas friends and family. Drop me a line at my email address anna at ferrettography dot com for purchasing details. 

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