When I opened my email today, Birdlife Australia reminded me that it is Bird Week. It seemed an appropriate time to reflect on and share the wonder of birds with friends and neighbours, the community as a whole.
It’s a good time to remind our councillors about the importance of indigenous plants to the wellbeing of our wonderful avian varieties and especially timely to reflect on the need of bird species for tall mature trees. These trees act as high-rise apartments for the larger birds especially – ibises, galahs and cockatoos can't roost in saplings.
In recent years there has been a drive to remove all pines from the local area. Classed as weeds, they have no protection against the zeal directed at them.
This is a short-sighted action. Yes, there are problems with pine trees, but it's cruel to remove this habitat before the natives planted to replace them reach maturity. It takes decades for trees to provide good roosts.
At the other end of the scale, recently I complained about the over-clearing of the local melaleuca to the council officer responsible for protecting native vegetation. "It’s only a weed" was the response. This is an out-of-date attitude to important habitat for smaller birds and other native creatures.
Because of the urbanisation of our area, the Indian mynah, an exotic pest species, is colonising large areas. They are aggressive birds and eventually expel native species from the locality.
The cottages with their fruit trees, vegies, flowers and native shrubs are disappearing at an alarming rate, replaced by units or much smaller blocks with very little room for a garden and certainly not for trees.
In this changed environment, our lives will become sterile and diminished without the songs, screeches and squawks of our treetop choirs.
Have you noticed there are fewer lizards and frogs too? Like the birds, they eat the insect pests and reduce the need for insecticides.
Then there are the bees. Fewer of them as well, and we need them to cross-pollinate our crops.