Flocked is a participatory project by artist Sera Waters which aims to collect and collate bird stories to add to the rich ornithology collection of the SA Museum. Our everyday knowledge of birdlife is extraordinarily rich and I would love you to contribute your stories, imaginings, family tales, first-hand encounters and any other thinkings about birds to this blog.
One evening, on my way to the shed, I saw a pigeon on the ground.While this may not seem much to anyone, it was really was an unusual sight, as the only pigeons to be seen were in Kingscote.This bird had a tag on its leg, and after much to and froing we managed to read the phone number, only to find that it was in Baccus Marsh!Apparently the bird had flown in the opposite direction to where it was supposed to go.It was expected in Melbourne!The guy said to take it to where there were other pigeons, and release it.We opened the shed door, and it flew in and landed on one of the shelves.In the morning,when we opened up the shed it flew onto my head! It was a very strange feeling and it did not seem to want to go until it was tempted by some food in a cage, which we took to Kingscote, and then opened to release the bird.
These birds always seem to be chatting to each other, as they line up on the pergola outside the front door. They were the first to be heard when we camped on our property.No wonder they are called the welcome swallow! They seem to spend their lives either chatting, or flying low over the grassy areas catching insects, and often came quite close. They are very sociable
In fact, we had a couple nesting just outside ourfront door.We had built into the stoneworknesting holes, at the recommendation of a friend, and a pair of swallows decided to make a nest in one of them.We were delighted, and watched with interest, discovering that babies had arrived as the parents were kept very busy going to and fro, obviously feeding them.Actually, one day we shone a torch inside and confirmed that there were baby swallows in the hole.
Then the unthinkable happened.One of our resident snakes, on his daily external tour of the house
managed to climb the wall, and ate all the baby birds.He would not be deterred from climbing that wall – we tried everything, bar trying to injure him.The interesting thing is that some months later, on his usual tour, as the snake was approaching the wall, a swallow came flying to the opening, and hovering in front of the hole started to chatter away very excitedly.It appeared to us that he was trying to warn any bird that may have been in the hole!
Another time, the snake was not having much luck climbing another section of the wall, to get to the baby birds, so he climbed up one of the pillars and along the beam, then the gutter, and tried to lean over it to get to the nest.He fell, and undeterred tried the whole procedure again.However, the babies had fledged, and were happily chattering away at the front of the house!