City Slickers Photo Challenge

Back in February we ran a special photo challenge on the Birds in Backyards forums where we asked for images that really capture birds in urban spaces - from the concrete jungle of the city right out to your backyard. Some birds were beautiful and unnoticed, others detested but still fascinating. See some of our favourite submissions and read about the wonder of birds in our human-dominated spaces.

 

Lewins Honeyeater by John Gunning

Birds took advantage of the much needed rain in our garden shed gutter. Normally a shy bird but the prospect of a cool shower proved irresistible depsite knowing I was watching.

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A Pardalote Tale by Greg Griffiths ("Tango")

Location: Mount View, Hunter Valley, NSW
Species: Striated Pardalote
 
I was working in the garden down by our old disused cottage when I heard a noise coming from the inside. I cautiously approached the cottage window and was immediately startled by a tapping noise against the glass. The windows of the old cottage are dusty and screened by shade cloth on the inside making it difficult to see in. I crouched down to the sill level and caught a glimpse of a small bird belting away at the glass adjacent to my nose.
 
I walked around the outside of the cottage and the tapping noise followed me from window to window as if very intently trying to attract my attention.
 
I left momentarily then entered with the keys to find him back on the sill inside, quietly staring out through the gap in the shade cloth. I had never seen one of these birds before. He was covered in dust and cob webs looking rather despondent, like a prisoner who had just lost his opportunity at freedom.
 
I captured the moment then gently offered him the inside of my hat and was totally surprised by his reaction. He hopped straight in. I carefully slid my hand underneath him lifting him out of the hat and began the task of unwrapping the cob webs. He sat there patiently as I unwound each web then I walked him outside. Sensing freedom he immediately leaped from the hat like a younger bird learning to fly as he wobbled in flight to reach the fence a few metres away. I sat on the grass wondering if he was really strong enough to be out on his own and I was interested to witness his next move. After shaking off the remaining cobwebs he jumped to the ground and turning back made his way through the grass and onto the back of my hand. The next 15 seconds were quite magical and just as my thoughts turned to how I might keep him until he was strong enough to go home he launched himself high up into the Eucalyptus trees.
 
This beautiful moment was unfortunately tarnished by the discovery of two deceased Striated Pardalotes I found when checking the other rooms of the cottage. I hope this little fellow lives forever...

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Birds on an aerial by Murray Hubbard

Urban birds have a huge attraction to TV aerials. I know because my office at home faces our rear neighbour and his TV aerial. There are so many birds that land on this aerial in the course of the day that I have my camera and long lens on standby when I am working in the office. I also keep the office window clean so I can shoot through it rather then go outside and disturb the birds. These are Australia's favourite (LOL) bird the Indian Mynah and a Spotted Turtle dove. Other species that frequent the aerial include Crested pigeons, Butcher birds, Blue-faced honeyeaters, Kookaburras, Green figbirds, Spangle drongo...plus a few more. I took this shot in 2016. I have seen up to four species on the aerial at one time. 

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