Before my father went off to the oldie-home one of his greatest daily joys was to sit and wonder at the birdlife which gravitated to my parent’s courtyard and grounds.

He could sit in the sunroom and look out at these cheery little things digging into the bird feeder in the courtyard.   Doesn’t mum keep her windows clean!!   This is a Kookaburra (though it might be a Kingfisher… it was a wet day); he sat on the fence watching those little birdies on their feeder –  he was probably wondering if he could fit one in his mouth.  When he flew onto the outdoor furniture for  a closer look the little birds flew away.   I took this from the kitchen through another clean piece of glass!    

And from his bedroom dad could watch these purple waterbirds as they played in the creek.   These were dad’s favourite and we had a photo framed to hang on the wall in the nursing home.    From his window now he doesn’t see any birdlife, or any sort of life actually, but he told me he heard a Butcher bird singing one morning.  And then outside I came across a cute fluffy baby!  I didn’t realize how big their feet are until this shot:

What big feet I have!

In the Kookaburra photo you may have noticed orange disks along the side of the table  – these are not fancy decoration but rather some funky fungus.

As I went outside to get a closer look my mother shouted  “now don’t go out there knocking them off”     …..     in her mind I’m still a destructive 5 year old!


37 responses

  1. I LOVE birding! I have been so fortunate to have seen birds from the Caribbean to Alaska and from the UK to India. I haven’t seen any Aussie birds until now! One day I need to get down there! Beautiful pictures! And…um, mom…I think Emjay can be trusted not to knock the fungi off. 🙂

    • Lauri – you are quite the international “twitcher” 🙂 I have trouble identifying birds I grew up without adding foreign species. I felt quite contrary when my mother said that …. luckily my 54 yo brain trod down the 5 year old’s impulse.

  2. Did you take these photos with your point-and-shoot? They’re gorgeous!

    I love the small birds eating from the feeder. They look like the little finches you see in pet stores, though happily uncaged and wild. When I was a child I used to think it would be fun to have kookaburras in our yard, until I found out they eat small birds and baby chicks. Since we have hawks out here, I guess we don’t need another predator. But are there a lot of birds in your parents’ backyard because it’s spring? Or is it always like this?

    Old habits die hard for parents, I’m afraid. My mother still likes to tell visitors that I am a terrible cook and homemaker, which is why no one will marry me, lol. It hurts sometimes, but it also reminds me not to do the same thing to my children. When I went to visit my son, he and his housemates had shoes scattered all over the floor of their entryway. I had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling, “How many times do I have to tell you to put your shoes away? Someone will trip if you keep leaving your gigantic sneakers out here!”

    • My Canon point & shoot is such a good little machine – basically as long as I hold it still it performs.
      There always seem to be birds around my parent’s place – they have a wooded area and a creek at the back of their house so that probably attracts the birds. The “purple” birds do seem to go away in winter and then come back to breed in spring.
      Parents are funny things – even though my father is in a nursing home now I still feel *so* young in his presence and as if I am the vulnerable one not him. I’m pretty good with my kids – I wouldn’t dare tell my oldest what to do as he has a wife for that now! 🙂 and my other son is very orderly – it’s only my daughter that I still seem to get the impulse to “boss” around.

  3. It’s always so cool going to another country (or even another part of the country) and seeing the different bird life. It’s sad your dad can’t see the birds anymore. 😦 The purple water birds, are they moor hens? Fatcat had another name for them, now I forget. Love the kookaburra, they are such cheeky little monkeys! Love the feeding birdies and the fungus among us! 🙂

    • Kookaburras really are like cheeky little monkeys and they have that wild “laugh” which is amazing. The locals tend to just call the purple birds “swamphens” but I think now that I’ve looked up Fatcat’s Pukeko that that’s what they are.

  4. Fascinating birds, with huge feet. Like Lauri, I am an avid bird Nerd.

    I believe if you were to get permission to install some sort of feeder near you dad’s window in his new residence, that it might attract some birdsong…

    • It seems to take ages to get anything happening in the home. They now have 11 residents but only one handy man and he seems to be run off his feet. Once mum gets the wifi password so dad can use a computer (she’s been asking for more than a month) I’ll get her to work on a feeder request.

  5. wow, we don’t have any birds like a kookaburra in Pennsylvania. He/she looks more like a chicken. (laughing) I bet that if you supply the feeder and feed, the home will let you put it outside of your Dad’s window. It is all about the money. If you supply everything and it doesn’t cost them any money it will be permitted. I’m wondering what is in the molded feed at your Mom’s home. Those birds apparently love it! I counted 7 on the one. Those birds sure are happy! Wonderful pictures!

    • I think the kookaburra is truly unique – once the laugh gets going it can sound quite maniacal (and annoying! 🙂 ) I’m trying to remember the outlook from my father’s window to see if there’s anywhere to hang a feeder. I took some photos of him in his room but none of them have the window in them.

  6. Lovely photos Emjay – those purple water birds look a lot like our Moorhens.

    My folks do the same; they have large (and clean) patio doors with bird feeders hung on the tree outside.

    • Thank you Clare – I remember seeing Moorhens in the parks in London. Next spring I really must make an effort to attract birds, other than crows and sparrows, to our yard (and clean my windows! 🙂 )

  7. I have said for years that if I live to be old enough, I’ll be a bird watcher (like going on tours and crap). I love watching birds and it may come from growing up in a forest. They were easy to spot! The kookaburra looks just like the one at our Wild Bird Sanctuary (which is sort of a “duh” but having never seen one before that day, it’s fun seeing his cousin in its native habitat!).

  8. What wonderful birds, and wonderful photos you took! Yes, those windows are spotless. She need not see mine…I clean them like once a year.
    Aw, can you get your dad some dvds of birds? I saw one for sale recently about migrating cranes, looked lovely to watch. Love the kookaburra! So cute!

    • Once a year? I think I’ve cleaned my windows two or 3 times in 5 years. Not high on my priority list as I’d rather be outside than looking out at it – but I do appreciate a sparkling sheet of glass when I see it. I don’t think dad is very interested in watching a TV screen these days – actually I think he finds the “flickering” disturbing – but others here have suggested CD’s and I think that could work as he really loves his CD player.

  9. Wonderful photos! The blue bird with the big feet is a Pukeko, I think – but I thought those were restricted to New Zealand, so I might be wrong. Swamp hen of some sort, for sure. Kookaburras are a species of kingfishers, so you’re right either way there 🙂 Do you also get the Galahs (the parrots that are grey and pink)? I used to wake up to their “choir” when I lived in Brizzy – I kinda miss it 🙂

      • When I was in Cornwall visiting my dad’s cousins, they told me birdwatchers were called “twitchers”. I loved it. They even found an old bird book for me to take about with me. My dad’s cousin “Cliff” just passed away over there last month. He was 88. What a fun guy.

    • @ fatcat – yes plenty of the grey & pink Galahs around where I grew up. They would follow the grain trucks along nibbling any seed spilling out on the road. There were be large flocks of them just sitting on the bitumen.

      I Googled Pukeko and I think this might be one or a very close relative – according to Wikipedia there sub-species in Australia. Thank you for the information!

  10. My Mum is the opposite. The birds that sing around her house drive her to distraction. I swear she would throw stones at them if she could. It sums my Mum up to perfection these days. Grumpy old woman.
    The last time I saw my Grandmother, she was 95, she pointed to a little tiny soft bird ornament that someone had attached to the curtain rod in her room. I said, “that’s a pretty yellow bird”, and she replied that “yes, but it just sits there and never says anything”. She had dementia and thought it was a real bird!

    • My grandmother had a blue budgerigar, Andy, for many, many years – I think longer than they normally lived. I’m sure she missed birds when she went into a nursing home when she was in her 90’s. I suppose staff are too busy looking after the residents to add a bird to their list of duties but it seems that a lot of elderly really enjoy them (except your mother 🙂 )

  11. Awwwwwww…………..this is wonderful! Gorgeous pictures and sweet memories.
    LOL re your Mom saying not to knock them off.

    Those are BIG FEETZ!
    And the birds are really lovely. The purple ones looks huge! Are they?

    • I think in our parent’s minds we are always naughty, young children. I know that as I get older, when I see my kids the things I remember most are the naughty things they did – but I see them more as amusing now than annoying. 🙂 The purple birds are about the size of a domestic hen/rooster – they are such a lovely colour and there is very little difference between the male and the female.

    • I was surprised at how clean my mother’s windows are. She’s 78 and needs a walker to get around but it doesn’t seem to stop her from doing much. Australia has some lovely birds – I probably didn’t appreciate them as much when I lived amongst them as I do now that they are not around me.

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