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Bird Watchers

Bird watching all year round at Araluen Botanic Park

Where to see them at Araluen

Birds may be seen throughout the Park but suggestions for particularly good areas for easy observation are:

  • The Contour Walk from the Chalet, through the rose garden, the adjacent bush, Westrek Bridge and along the creek – often several different insectivorous birds
  • The lawn area and its edges adjacent to the Mary Hargreaves Pergola – birds that like a bit of safe, sunny open space
  • From the Entry Car Park down to and by Stinton Creek, the Roundhouse then upstream as far as Forest View

Seasonal Notes

Autumn to mid-winter
Autumn brings shorter days, lower temperatures and, hopefully, good rainfall that will continue throughout winter. This is an excellent time to see birds as the young adults are moving around feeding before settling into territories to breed in the spring. They are not so secretive and the Park is a bit more open with deciduous trees and pruning.

Late winter to late spring
This is the main breeding season for most of the birds in the Park depending on the weather and the increasing length in daylight. There is an abundance of food for nestlings, water and shelter though some birds may move into the quieter areas of the bushland to breed. Cuckoos call frequently. Sacred Kingfishers return in October and mark the change to much longer and warmer days.

Late spring to early autumn
This is the time for possible extreme heat with little rain. The Park, with shade and permanent water provides safe shelter for the many species that choose to stay. This is also the time to see wedge-tailed eagles, red-tailed black cockatoos and many parrots.

Araluen is home to many of Western Australia’s most beautiful birds. From New Holland Honeyeaters, to Sacred Kingfishers, there are plenty of birds to see at Araluen, either zipping through the trees, or resting in the gardens. Araluen’s unique landscape provides many species of birds with the perfect home; cool running water from Stinton Creek, plenty of shady tree canopies, and hectares of bushland to build nests in.

Habitat

Araluen’s unique setting offers a variety of habitats suited to many different birds providing them with shelter, nest sites, a wide range of food sources and permanent water. Some will be residents, some visit seasonally while others will pass through occasionally.

The elements of the habitats include:

  • Many hectares of jarrah-marri forest with dense undergrowth to areas of more open trees and rocky outcrops
  • Stinton Creek with dense cover adjacent to most of the banks but some more open areas. Water, rocks and permanent pools
  • Garden beds with a wide range of exotic and native plants of various heights, areas of lawn and water from reticulation in summer
  • Very few predators that aren’t part of the natural bush
  • Little use of pesticides that could harm birds
  • Not disturbed for much of the year. There’s always somewhere safe.

Hints

If you see a bird and wonder what it is, there are often only a few seconds, so:

  • Most important:  Did you see any distinctive colour or pattern which might be a clue?  In some species, males are much brighter in late winter/spring; in others, the sexes are quite similar with only subtle differences in the colours.
  • Was it tiny (like a wren) or larger?  Can you estimate its length?
  • Was it feeding? If so, on the ground, in a shrub, up in a tree, in water?  What was it eating eg seeds, insects, nectar?
  • Was it alone or in a group?
  • Did it do anything particularly noticeable?
  • Where was it in the Park?  Eg on a lawn, in the bush, by or in the creek, in a particular garden bed, up in a tree canopy, flying overhead, etc.
  • Some birds have very distinctive calls which become familiar with time. Many can be heard in recordings online. It’s the background twittering that is hard to identify.

 

Birds of Araluen

Water Birds
  • Australian White Ibis – occasional
  • Australian Wood Duck
  • Little Pied Cormorant – spring and summer
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Rufous Night-Heron
  • White-faced Heron
  • White-necked Heron – occasional
Birds of Prey

This is the main breeding season for most of the birds in the Park depending on the weather and the increasing length in daylight. There is an abundance of food for nestlings, water and shelter though some birds may move into the quieter areas of the bushland to breed. Cuckoos call frequently. Sacred Kingfishers return in October and mark the change to much longer and warmer days.

Raptors:

  • Brown Goshawk
  • Square-tailed Kite  – a natural predator. Circles around treetops hunting for prey (small birds). Uncommon raptor known to live locally in the Perth Hills.
  • Wedge-tailed Eagle – intermittent. Mostly overhead in summer.  Long term residents of the Canning Valley and adjacent bushland. (A sighting of either a Peregrine Falcon or an Australian Hobby)

Owls:

  • Southern Boobook
  • Tawny Frogmouth – not a true owl but also a dusk/nocturnal bird of prey
Meat Eaters

Eat insects, small creatures and may also be scavengers

  • Australian Raven – common
  • Australian Magpie  – common
  • Grey Butcherbird
  • Grey Currawong
  • Laughing Kookaburra – from the ES, but liked SW WA too much to leave
  • Sacred Kingfisher  –  seasonal migrant breeding in spring and early summer
Cockatoos and Parrots

Seed eaters, especially from marri gumnuts and other native plants.  Larvae (grubs) in branches.  Native flowers and orchard fruit.

  • Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo  – endangered WA subspecies naso
  • White-tailed Black Cockatoo  – mostly autumn to spring eating the Marri gumnuts.
  • Australian Ringneck  – south-west WA subspecies, often called a Twenty-eight.
  • Galah
  • Little Corella
  • Red-capped Parrot
  • Western Rosella
Seed Eaters - Small Seeds
  • Common Bronzewing  (pigeon)
  • Red-browed Finch – from the Eastern States.  Escaped from captivity in Kalamunda in    the 1960s and gradually spread into suitable habitat in the Hills.
  • Red-eared Firetail – a finch, confined to specialised habitats in SW WA
Specialised Feeders - Mistletoe Fruits
  • Mistletoe Bird  – eats mistletoe fruit and spreads the seeds. Nomadic – following the availability of fruit. Will also eat other fruits, insects, nectar and berries if mistletoe fruits are not in season.
Insect Eaters (insectivorous)
  • Australian Golden Whistler
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike
  • Dusky Woodswallow
  • Grey Fantail
  • Rainbow Bee-eater  –  only occasionally in summer
  • Red-winged Fairy-wren
  • Rufous Whistler – uncommon
  • Scarlet Robin
  • Splendid Fairy-wren
  • Spotted Pardelote
  • Striated Pardelote
  • Varied Sittella
  • Western Gerygone
  • Western Silvereye – also eats nectar and fruit
  • Western Thornbill
  • White-breasted Robin
  • Yellow-rumped Thornbill

 

Including the cuckoos who parasitise the nests of small insectivorous birds including the honeyeaters:

  • Fan-tailed Cuckoo
  • Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
The Honey Eaters (who also eat insects)
  • New Holland Honeyeater
  • Singing Honeyeater
  • Red Wattlebird -uncommon
  • Western Spinebill
  • Western White-naped Honeyeater