Questioning base instincts

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Late Spring on Bruny Island and the aggression borne of parental protection is peaking.

As a lover of birds I sometimes question my like for most and dislike for some, a concerning avian racism.

Once I was asked to do a survey on sparrows and the last question was: Do you like sparrows? I questioned my database for quite some time and eventually deleted all the negative stuff and came down to: They are just like the rest of us; here doing our best.

In Australia we are surrounded by what is referred to as introduced species: swallows, starlings, blackbirds, European goldfinches for example. Since my epiphany on swallows I have come to refer to them as migrants, most of who have come by boat.

The other day, while sitting around my pond in the bush (more about that in future posts) with some visitors from Britain, a family of six black-headed honeyeaters alighted in the shrubs right above our heads.

Young ones and their parents, chittering away and chasing each other as they do. One stopped and stared down at us from a twig. I told the guests that he was saying to his family: “Oh look, Brits over-wintering on Bruny.”

As I began writing this first post for Bruny Island Birds there was a commotion outside. Wattlebirds and dusky wood swallows were bombarding a forest raven that was carrying off what appeared to be a chick.

My wife was shouting abuse at the “f-ing crow” and back to me came the avian racism. Those bloody arrogant crows (read forest ravens). Then I remembered the image I snapped last week (above) as a forest raven put its life on the line defending its young.

I remind myself again: Most of us are here just doing our best, raising kids or whatever.