wings and things

Believing in birds you can’t see

There are all these new birds here – I counted over six pink-and-grey galahs yesterday, a multitude of blue wrens, some wild ducks, and more crows and magpies (which I took for granted before) than I have ever seen before. It’s becoming a wonderland of domesticated and wild birds living in relative harmony, and even our three dogs are okay with things. Now that is a small miracle!

The title of this post is not me trying to be profound; it’s me unable to find my camera – arghh………….



I rather like irony.

Just before I checked out of my Perth hotel yesterday, a few birds suddenly appeared so I quickly photographed them.

The pigeon on the right was gently pursuing his mate on the left.

Some ironies are difficult to absorb. Since surgery, Son has now experienced almost all of Husband’s Parkinson’s symptoms: immobility, loss of control, confusion, hallucinations, pain, hopelessness, fear, but also resiliance, hope, determination … heroism.

The willy wagtail screeched at me just like the ones in our wash house do!

Another sudden irony: I have fallen in love (hehe!) with Son’s surgeon who just rang me and reassured me that, except for football, Son could do anything but it might take a bit of time. His spinal surgery was a great success and the curve had been corrected to around 34%. The surgeon said miscommunication is common post-op but that, as far as he was concerned, Son could go to the concert, get back on his motorbike, do anything he wanted to do and that it was up to Son to figure that out.

I rang Husband to tell him the good news, then I rang Son, who had visitors and asked me to ring back (!) so then I went and told Ola, named after one of my beautiful nieces, Olivia. Ola is, however, not a girl!

I rather like irony.


And the winner is….

Well, the ‘Where’s Willy’ competition was a great success with 89 subscribers rising to the challenge of attempting to find and count the Willy Wagtails in the wattle tree pictured in my last post. It was a difficult game and, one by one, 86 people had to give up but they should be commended for trying.

Out of the three final entries, it was Magsx2 who submitted the correct answer and I quote:  “I cannot see any wagtails. :lol:

Her prize is a recommendation that you follow/subscribe to her blog and here is the link:

For the other two courageous entrants, your prize is a virtual hug.

And for the 86 who tried, I’d like you to know that I know that you didn’t really try did you – you simply deleted the post; you are all to be commended for your extraordinary wisdom.

Now, the story behind the picture is this: There were several Willy Wagtails frolicking around in the branches of the wattle tree both before and after the photo was taken. This is typical of their devious behaviour and, to top it off, I was dive-bombed by two of them as I abandoned trying to get a photo of them, so there must be nests in that wattle tree but I can’t spot any – can you? No, let’s not go there!


Where’s Willy?

You know that game called ‘Where’s Wally?’ in which you have to find him in amongst numerous other characters? I’m not quite sure why ‘Wally’ is now ‘Waldo’ because, in Australia, ‘wally’ is just slang for idiot, but perhaps ‘wally’ is yet another politically incorrect term. Anyway, here is an example of the game:

Now, if you have read my previous post  you’ll realise that this morning I had to traverse Australia with four emus – the Emerys. We have only just returned and I’m exhausted, so I thought it only fair to exhaust you guys too by presenting you with a challenge. It’s a game called ‘Where’s Willy?’ The first person to respond by telling us how many Willy Wagtails are in the wattle tree pictured below will receive a reward. Good luck!

By the way, in Australia, ‘willy’ is slang for a particular male appendage, so I would like it noted that this is simply an unfortunate coincidence and this game is about birds and nothing else.


Strategies for dealing with aggressive birds

Happy new year everyone. One of the first things on my list of things-to-do-in-2012 is to improve these strategies.

The loaf of bread strategy:

Okay, you already know about Godfrey, the Godfather of ganderdom. Now, don’t get me wrong; I adore Godfrey, but it’s unrequited, so now I honk back at him when I am trying to pat MY geese, not HIS geese, and today I slapped him in the head with a loaf of bread after he bit me on the bum again. This was quite effective except that Godfrey took the whole loaf of bread and ran away, with the gang following. So much for their loyalty. I will need to perfect this strategy before I patent it. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the gentleness of this picture; it was taken months ago, before Godfrey became the Godfather.

The leg-shaking strategy:

Tina Turner is the Araucana rooster who seemed like a hen to begin with. Okay, so I got that wrong. Well, Tina has recently developed an antipathy towards me which he demonstrates by flying at my legs and latching on with his substantial claws. This is very painful, especially if you are wearing shorts. Now it has been suggested to me that his behaviour might be an expression of adoration but don’t think so. Anyway, this is how to do the leg-shaking thing. You just walk slowly towards the rooster, lifting one leg at a time and shaking it. If the rooster tries to get behind you and trick you, just keep doing the leg-shaking. Sometimes this means that you will accidentally kick the rooster but if that happens don’t worry as the rooster will recover. Incidentally, this is also a great leg-toning exercise.

I’ve used the following photo of Tina on this blog before but I haven’t been able to take another one because it’s hard to take a photo while you are leg-shaking.

The screech strategy:

This one is very good for Willy wagtails who are nesting in washhouses on old farms. In a previous post I mentioned how difficult it is for me to do the washing whilst being dive-bombed by screeching Willy wagtails. So now what I do is I run, screeching loudly, into the washhouse and continue screeching until I have put the load of washing on. I’ve learned that I have to screech louder than they screech in order for the strategy to work. What happens is that they will vacate the washhouse for approximately two minutes, so obviously this strategy needs a bit of tweaking.

This photo is courtesy of Wikipedia

So there you have it: three very effective strategies for dealing with aggressive birds. I realise these strategies need refining, so any suggestions are welcome!


Willy wagtails barricade wash-house

There are two things I need to define here; firstly, what is a willy wagtail? The link below will provide you with some information:

The second thing to define is wash-house. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what a wash-house was either once upon a time. The best way to define this phenomenon is to simply describe our wash-house. Okay, from a distance, it looks a bit like a cute little chalet adjacent to the main house. In reality, however, this is a small octogenarian shed which houses a washing machine, a couple of sinks, an old copper and a multiplicity of junk, some of which Husband assures me could be valuable and probably is. The only trouble is that I wouldn’t have a clue what these objects of antique art actually are; the only thing I recognise is a screwdriver which doesn’t actually cooperate the way screwdrivers should when you really need them so it, like other tooly objects, sits in one of the many piles, waiting in vain hope to be rescued by Sothebys.

I have become so used to doing the washing in these somewhat primitive conditions that it doesn’t bother me in the least, except in Spring when the willy wagtails build their nests. They build these nests everywhere of course but the most elaborate of these is the one in the wash-house. Every year there is a nest, eggs, babies and so on and, despite the fact that I love all of that, those willy wagtail parents give me hell when I am trying to do the washing.

You see, they screech, then dive bomb me and, even though they are so tiny, they are very good at head-butting and (I know this is going to sound ridiculous), I am terrified of them!

Hence, I am very much behind with the washing. I mean this is one hell of a scary looking bird, wouldn’t you agree?