I spotted a silvereye in my backyard just a little while ago, and chances are it has not long arrived from Tasmania. Apparently our local silvereyes migrate to the far north, the ones already there stay put, and the Tasmanian ones fly across the Bass Strait! Since I happened to be prowling about with the camera, I attempted to take several photos. Nope, no good when loaded to the PC – couldn’t see the bird for leaves. [sigh] Anyway, the one I saw looked exactly like this.A bit of what Wikipedia has to say …
The silvereye or wax-eye (Zosterops lateralis) is a very small omnivorous passerine bird of the south-west pacific. In Australia and New Zealand its common name is sometimes shortened to white-eye …
… Silvereyes breed in spring and early summer (mainly between September and December), making a tiny cup of grass, moss, hair, spiderweb, and thistledown, suspended from a branch fork in the outer reaches of small trees or shrubs. They lay two to four pale blue eggs, and two (or sometimes three) broods may be raised during each breeding season. The eggs hatch after about 11 days, and the young fledge after another 10 days. The juveniles are independent at 3 weeks and able to breed at 9 months.
In late summer silvereyes gather into flocks and many Australian birds migrate, making their way north along the coast and ranges, foraging busily during the day with much calling and quick movement through the shrubbery, then flying long distances through the night.
Most of the Tasmanian population crosses the Bass Strait (an astonishing feat for 12 cm birds weighing only a few grams) and disperses into Victoria, New South Wales, and south-eastern Queensland. The populations of these areas tend to head further north; while the northern-most birds remain resident all year round.
Silvereyes are omnivorous with a diet that includes insects, berries, fruit and nectar. When food is scarce in winter they will take a wide variety of foods from bird tables, ranging from sugar water through bread and cooked meats, to solid lumps of fat.
I’ve decided to share more of the many birds around me without waiting for that magical photo of my own to happen. I recognize a lot of birds instantly from my Gould League days. I had a badge and took the pledge not to collect eggs. I watched my four brothers like a hawk.
I took on a bird-watching project for the Duke of Edinburgh Award when I was in grade 6. I made a large map of part of the farm where we lived at that time, right down to the creek. After school, I marked all the sightings of every bird on my circuit. You know, now I cannot recall if I ever handed in that project – I really hope I did! One of the first books I bought was What Bird Is That? by Neville Cayley.
Yep, I love birds.