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Room with a view

November 9, 2019

As a very amateur birdo I find that my preconceived ideas about birds and how they live are continually being challenged and corrected, none more so than my recent discovery. I find wetlands and dams to be infinitely fascinating places – the intersection between the terrestrial and the aquatic life. At the right time of the year contemplation at the side of a dam will reveal a multitude of birdlife nesting in the reeds and sedges. And so I thought that all aquatic birds e.g. ducks, herons, etc. did the same.

Last week I spied a nest made of sticks and twigs high up in a River Red Gum (above left). It was to my great surprise that a photograph of the nest revealed two White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) chicks peering out over the edge (above). My Pizzey and Knight bird app tells me the nest should be ‘in a leafy branch 5 – 12 m high, sometimes far from water’. Check.

Coincidentally, now that I know where to look, I spied an Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), left, nesting in the top of an old stag and an Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) nesting in a tree hollow (pictured below).

A quick check of other ducks, egrets and spoonbills on the app shows they invariably nest in hollows or nests high in trees either close to or away from water – obviously the inner-city high-rise apartment dwellers of the aquatic bird world. Be careful what you assume.

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