We stood in the window of my workroom this morning, looking out at our fence, and had a close-up of a mother Fairy-wren feeding her baby who was perched on the top of the fence chittering for food. We were about two feet away and it was wonderful to watch these birds and their inter-action.
Poor old mum was having a very busy time of it trying to satisfy the hunger pangs of her demanding baby because, as fast as she brought a morsel back, the baby swallowed it and then started hollering for more.
Female wrens are rather dowdy, while the males are a brilliant blue colour. They are very small birds and when there is a load of them in the garden, they look for all the world like large fleas hopping around, as they are never still, always on the move, and very, very quick in their movements.
It always amuses me to watch baby birds growing up and being fed by their parents. The racket by a baby magpie has to be heard to be believed. Both parents both fly back and forth feeding their demanding youngster until you see, one day, that they finally decide their offspring is big enough to feed itself. So you hear Baby Maggie hollering and bawling, demanding to be fed, while Mum and Dad hover anxiously, watchfully but also not answering their baby’s demands, until it learns that it is going to have to feed itself. Funny how quickly they find this out, and it’s like the parents give a collective shrug, dust off their feathers and give a huge, birdie sigh of relief that they’re finally off the baby-feeding treadmill.
We have watched this progress too with the three baby kookas I mentioned in a recent blog. The babies would perch on the branch of our jacaranda tree, carrying on like you wouldn’t believe, while, because there were three of them, Mum and Dad kookas rushed back and forth stuffing tasty morsels like small lizards, insects or worms down their ever-demanding throats. And like the Mama Magpie, they too looked really relieved when the youngsters were finally able to feed themselves and could be left to make their own way in this world.
I guess it’s one of the reasons I so love living in a rural area – you get to see birds, snakes, insects, lizards, spiders and all sorts of wildlife in their natural setting, and you can get so much pleasure from watching their antics and behaviour. Well, perhaps “pleasure” isn’t quite the word when it comes to snakes. Carpet pythons are okay because they’re shy, keep out of your way and are non-venomous. I once had a close encounter with one which was 12ft long, but we were both happy to scarper and keep out of each other’s way.
We did once have a taipan snake in our home, when we lived in an isolated, rural area. Luckily we didn’t realise what it was and also luckily it decided to slither out the front door and disappear under the verandah. Taipans can be quite aggressive and attack you, unlike the great majority of snakes which will keep away from human beings, and taipans are one of the deadliest snakes in the world, quite capable of killing human beings within an hour or so if anti-venene isn’t immediately available.
However, while there can be some challenges, living in the country teaches you to get used to wildlife, it’s not something remote, it’s on your doorstep, and for me it’s a reminder of this rich world we live in and our need to live in harmony with Mother Nature.