Albino Wattle Bird

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lindyloo
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Albino Wattle Bird

I feed all types of native birds each morning, in particular the Wattle Bird and the Red Wattle Bird, one morning the female and male brought down their baby bird, either to feed or show it off to me.  I prefer the latter.  Well, the family have been coming to visit each morning now for well over 3 weeks.  The baby bird is very bold and holds its own in a crowd.  I was told probably other birds would pick on it, but so far I have not seen that.  Has anyone else witnessed something similar?

Woko
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Hi there , Lindyloo. Red Wattlebirds are usually able to hold their own against most comers so I presume young Red Wattlebirds would acquire this characteristic at a relatively early age. I can't recall seeing young Red Wattlebirds being harassed by any other species where I live. 

By the way, I presume you're aware of the risks to birds from artificially feeding them. 

lindyloo
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Hi Woko,

I am very new to bird watching and I take your advice about red wattle birds being harrassed.  I feed the birds (not just wattle birds) with wild bird seed mix.  I seem to attract a lot of different types of birds from the lovely coloured parrots, rosellas and the ever hungry galahs.  Do you think I should not do this.  I have many plants that attracts nectar loving birds also.

Lachlan
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Birdlife Australia (and presumably BiBy?) recommends that people don't feed birds, and that they instead develop their yards with native plants and birdbaths to provide a natural source of food for the birds. Many European organisations do promote feeding birds, which suggests that they have a different focus that Birdlife Australia. frown

On the other hand, it has been agrued that if you are careful about howmuch and what you feed the birds it is ok. 

I've never managed to see an albino (leucistic?) bird at all, so it is interesting to see your pictures, but I can't comment on reactions to them.sad

Woko
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Hi Lindyloo. I tend to come from the position of trying to work out what's most helpful for the survival of our native birds. Birds which are artificially fed are at risk of contracting the dreaded beak & feather disease. Your strategy of providing native plants as the food source for the birds in your area will certainly avoid this possibility. 

Also, artificial feeding takes many birds away from one of their main tasks in the environment: that of pollination & spreading seeds so that native forests & bush land can regenerate & not become senile. In turn, regenerating forests & bush land benefits the birds through the provision of more plentiful food & so the natural cycle continues uninterrupted. 

Certainly, the artificial provision of bird seed is more helpful to birds than feeding them bread & other human delicacies which can cause sickness. But I sometimes wonder if bird seed produces invasive plants which reduces the quality of native vegetation. 

The final question I would ask you to ponder is For whom is the artificial feeding? The birds or the feeder? 

For more on this & other view points could I suggest you type <artificial feeding> in the search box near the top of this page.

lindyloo
lindyloo's picture

As it turns out by the comments I have been given, it is quite evident that feeding birds with wild bird seed is not appropriate.  Thank you for your advice and help.  I did not realise the ramications of such an action.  And I will refrain from doing this.  I will let you know if the birds still come to visit to hang out in my native flowering plants, to drink in the heat of the day, particularly in the summer 40 degree days we have just encountered, to bath in the bird bath.

Woko, I will let you know if they still come around to enjoy my nectar oozing flowers and enjoy fresh water daily.

I somehow think they will.

Rebecca Z

While I'm not sure I would personally feed, I have no problems with it being done so long as you're not doing it in excessive amounts and that you are thoroughly cleaning feeders to prevent spread of disease (which to me is the largest issue).

You mentioned you are going to stop, can I recommend that if you do, that you taper off slowly with the amounts fed, rather than just cutting off the supply suddenly. That way, if some birds are relying on it, they aren't caught out when it suddenly disappears.

Anway, all that being said that's not what this thread it about :P I've not seen a leucistic wattlebird, but I have observed partial leucism in a few other species such as sparrows and magpies. It's always interesting :)

lindyloo
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Hi Rebecca,  You are probably correct about stopping feeding the birds, I have been slowly cutting back.  Whilst I say Albino, the wattle bird is turning out to be a leucistic bird.  He/she is still hanging around with its parents and is a joy to watch.    I actually don't use  a bird feeder I put the seeds on the grass.  But most of the birds that come down usually come down to eat the little nuts on the conifer bushes, and all the birds that spend time getting nectar from the grevilleas and the like.  Let alone having a bit of swim in the bird bath.

It really is a pleasure to watch them.  Thanks for your comment.

ihewman
ihewman's picture

It seems sensible in America and Europe for people to provide bird feeders, especially in winter and areas within major migration routes... not in Australia, though. Where winters are much harsher than our winter, it would be sensible to provide appropriate food when natural food is limited... and during migration, provide food, especially for the smaller migrants, to help birds survive their migration . In Australia it is not necessary to provide unnatural food for birds. However, a bird bath is again ideal during our hot summer.

Brandon (aka ihewman)

pacman
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ihewman wrote:

It seems sensible in America and Europe for people to provide bird feeders, especially in winter and areas within major migration routes... not in Australia, though. Where winters are much harsher than our winter, it would be sensible to provide appropriate food when natural food is limited... and during migration, provide food, especially for the smaller migrants, to help birds survive their migration . In Australia it is not necessary to provide unnatural food for birds. However, a bird bath is again ideal during our hot summer.

Australian summers however are generally harsher than American and European summers so I presume that you would support supplementary feeders during our summers.

Peter

ihewman
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Summer is when insects are in abundance and is also when the birds take advantage of this by picking on insects during this time... IMHO. There is generally no shartage in food, except of course water which is restricted in the hot summer. 

Brandon (aka ihewman)

lindyloo
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Thank you for your advice regarding overseas bird habits.  I still will continue to do what I do as the Urban sprawl, that we the humans, that has stripped the bushland and forests from our animals is vaste.  

Woko
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Brandon, you seem to be implying that birds in Europe & North America are yet to adapt to the winters there. 

Or are you suggesting that there is so little natural habitat left that those birds require human intervention to ensure their survival?

lindyloo
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Hello Woko, I don't think Brandon suggested that birds in America and Europe have not adapted to their winters.  Birds have been around a long time, you know.  As for Australia, where I am, a lot of the countryside has been stripped from the natural habiitat that birds are used to living in, so it seems that, if it is okay for them to come each summer and eat my fruit trees bare - it is not so bad to drop some seed on the grass for other birds.  Yes, I could put netting over the trees (or chop them down completely), but at least the fruit is supplimenting some part of the birds food, and I can simply buy my fruit from the shops.  It is a win win for all.

darinnightowl
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It's your choice lindyloo, bird feeder / bird bath  what's the difference ?  Enjoy it as you see it.

See it!  Hear it!

Mid-North Coast NSW

lindyloo
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Thank you darinnightowl.  The birds do come and enjoy the fresh water etc.  but sadly the albino wattle bird does not come along anymore.  Whether it found a better paddock, or it passed away I do not know.

lindyloo
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Thank you darinnightowl.  The birds do come and enjoy the fresh water etc.  but sadly the albino wattle bird does not come along anymore.  Whether it found a better paddock, or it passed away I do not know.

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