A Healesville Garden

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Roly
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A Healesville Garden

Fun in our garden this morning with cheeky Rainbow Lorikeets.

Roly
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Satin Bowerbirds

narly
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Fantastic stuff , rolyd . Rainbows are so amusing .

Neil

Araminta
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Yes, they are amusing Neil, and those are some very nice photos too.

But as I always do, I will stick my neck out again (feel free to chop it off), by encouraging you not to feed wild birds. Please read about the drawbacks and the spread of deadly deseases from one Parrot to the next, and the dire consequences of the infections they can (and will suffer) I'm not telling you what to do here, so don't attack me, I'm simply urging you to get informed and make your own decisions in favour of the wellfare of the birds, which you love no doubt.

M-L

Roly
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Yes, M-L, point taken.

We had a chat to the lovely people in Healesville Sanctuary and they gave us quite a bit of advice about feeding. We limit it to once a week maximum, have good quality seed with less sunflower seeds and regularly sanitise the feeders. As you will note, we have a tarpaulin over the table which is easier to clean and disinfect. The other feeder is stainless steel for similar reasons.

The birds give us great joy and it has been wonderful to teach the grandkids about them and about respecting wildlife. We do our best.

Roly

Araminta
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That sounds very good Roly, and I'm very happy that you don't think I'm lecturing youblush. We all want the best for the birds we love, thanks.

M-L

narly
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I feed my mob. I don't have a routine so it can be weekly , every 2nd day or it could be a month or more . It's interesting to note the preferences of food during certain times of the year. Sometimes they will only eat apple and leave the dry lorikeet food other times it's the other way round. This includes the Wattle birds and New Hollands. I'm not going to get into any arguments here but after 20+ years keeping and breeding birds in captivity and studying their nutritional requirements I feel that I know what I'm doing .

Neil

timmo
timmo's picture

Nice shots rolyd, they look like lots of fun.

I really like the shots of the juvenile Bowerbird changing colours too. I can just imagine it being a squeaky teen with it's voice breaking and all :)

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

Roly
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Thank Tim. The Bowerbirds have been terribly elusive and normally, by the time I grab my camera, they've vanished! It has been about a month since we last saw any and I'm sure their eyes were much bluer. Interestingly, when I took these pics this week they seemed to change from blue to pinky-purple depending on the angle of viewing. Is that normal - or do my glasses need cleaning?

Monti
Monti's picture

Hi there Rolyd.
Magnificent shots. I'm guessing that you have some nice glass on your camera. Having said that, patience and composition will add much more to a photo than good glass alone so well done for including all three.
I too live in Healesville and have recently moved house to a large bush block close to Maroondah dam. I am enjoying the magnificent bird life so much that it has prompted me to buy some binoculars and get more educated. I have been ignorantly feeding daily but am glad that their beauty has led me to do some research and so that particular activity shall cease.
But back to the point. Great shots and thanks for sharing.

Roly
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Thanks Trrroglodyte, yes, the birds have inspired me to learn more and have also given me a great lift in life.

Yes, we are in Healesville, not far from the Sanctuary. I am in the process of retiring and we moved here last May - still unpacking boxes! The house is only 4 or 5 years old so the garden has yet to develop any large bushes although they are mainly natives and we have already planted more. Because of this the birds need a bit of enticement so we have been feeding them. The Sanctuary advised once a week (or when special visitors arrive - like grandkids), good quality seed with not too many sunflower seeds and good hygiene.

I recently suffered from depression and these birds (plus one resident blue-tongue lizard) have really helped to lift my spirits. I have used a Canon camera for quite some time and bought myself a 400mm lens as a retirement present. I just love it, even though it is a bit heavy to use. I'm still learning - but it sure helps when the birds pose for you!!!

Cheers, Roly

Monti
Monti's picture

I'm pleased to hear that the birds have helped lift your spirit Roly. I can fully empathise with you as I have been there myself in the past.

Healesville is a magic place to live if birds are your thing. I'm a complete newcomer to the delights of birding but am thoroughly enjoying the journey.

Seeing as how we share a couple of common interests and live so close, perhaps you might be interested in meeting for a coffee and maybe a venture into the local bush for a bit of photography.

Don't mean to be too forward, just extending an invite.

My email address is should you care to take up the offer.

Happy birding Roly. Looking forward to some more lovely shots from your good self. Enjoy that 400 mm. I would ;o)

Monti
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Here's a quick one I got lucky with tonight. Fading light and hand held so not the sharpest but you get the idea.

Roly
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Can't help but smile every time I hear them start their laugh! I love the one airborne!

That would be lovely to meet for a coffee. Maybe Marie-Louise might like to join us.

I'm tied up with family stuff for a couple of weeks but should be free after that.

Best wishes, Roly

Monti
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The more the merrier Roly...... Keep in touch and we'll organise it.

Araminta
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Marie-Louise would like to join you, unless you want a boys day outwink, I look more like a boy than a girl, my hair is most likely shorter than yours. It would also be good to pick a day when the fire danger is not that high.

M-L

Monti
Monti's picture

Hi Marie-Louise.

Another pair of eyes for looking and another voice for conversing would be most welcome. Restrictions in gender only lead to limitations.

Hop on in I say.

BTW, my hair is pretty short. It hides the grey ;o)

Put my email address in your address book under Monti (It's a couple of posts before this) and between the three of us I'm sure we can work out a time.

Re the fire danger. I'm in agreeance that we should be cautious, I was thinking though of perhaps O'Donnelly's Weir  as a pretty safe option. We don't have to stray too far from the car there.

Having said that. I'm reasonably new to the area and am always open to new places to explore.

In short, consider thine self duly invited.

All the best to you both.

Monti.

Correa
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Great shots!

sacrednavel
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Such beautiful photos!  I too love loris for their charming, cheeky constant chatter.  And the bower bird photos are amazing!

Roly
Roly's picture

Thanks Correa and Sacrednavel. I'm only new to this and am having so much fun. I just have to find time to go out and look for birds. I had that problem 45 years ago - but I was interested in a different type of bird! I thought retirement was supposed to give you more time - but it has been quite the opposite!

Marie-Louise and Monty - am really looking forward to catching up!

Woko
Woko's picture

Hey there Monti & rolyd. I'm totally excited by your total excitement about finding the totally exciting joys of bird watching. While I suppose it's a natural part of my life now when I first started it was like entering a whole new life with things to see & places to visit. And I still get a huge buzz from seeing & learning new things.

Also, I'm interested in your experiences with depression & am wondering how you both see the connection between your new-found interest in birds & dealing successfully (from what I understand) with depression - providing, of course, you feel comfortable about sharing your thoughts.

Some moons ago I proposed to a nursing home's management that they plant native vegetation around the home to attract wildlife to provide a focus of interest & stimulation for the residents. The management wasn't interested. However, I heard the outgoing SA Minister of Health, John Hill, in a radio interview this morning mention that he sees a connection between human health & a healthy environment (& the arts) & this connection is being built into the new Adelaide Hospital.

As well, I recall a Birds in Backyards poster some time ago mentioning that her/his daughter had suffered a brain injury & he/she & his/her spouse were planting their garden with native plants to attract birds for a very similar reason that I put to the nursing home. I don't know what became of their venture & the affect on their daughter but this sort of thing is of great interest to me.

I'd be most interested to read of any thoughts you might be prepared to share on this topic.

Roly
Roly's picture

Hello Woko!

That's very sad about the nursing home. It is a well-known fact that animals of all types can bring joy and health to humans. Obviously, just as there are certain animals that some people don't like, there are also particular animals that many humans do like. It has been clinically proven that patting or stroking an animal such as a dog or cat can lower blood pressure and ease anxiety. When my mother was in a nursing home we used to take our dog with us. In the lounge the residents would reach out and call to him with the biggest smile on their face. The dog loved the attention and the residents loved to touch him and have him take notice of them. 

There is ample evidence of autistic or intellectually impaired children gleaning much delight from contact with dolphins and horses. The vast majority of humans need the simple touch of another or the quiet company of an animal. Quite frankly, I think I'd prefer the company of any dog to that of most adult humans!!

I get immense pleasure from watching children at play. I don't have to be involved - just quietly observing. I get the same pleasure from watching birds as they feed. The parrots are wonderful in the comic antics they get up to - hanging upside down, throwing crests up and dancing etc. It also fascinates me to watch how fast the little ones move as they dart from flower to flower. How amazing are their reflexes?

As a child I lived on the third storey of a house which was right on the harbour of a small, Cornish, fishing village. In this elevated position I was always able to look out of the window and watch the seagulls from their height above the water - at eye level. In my boyhood mind I would swoop and wheel with them. I guess that is what excited my lust for flight. As a pilot I have always envied birds' ability to just leap into the air whenever they want and I've equally always admired their true mastery over the air. It is effortless to them - and they haven't a damn clue that the coefficient of lift equals a half rho Vsquared S!!!

I have a shocking memory for the specific names of things so I doubt that I will ever become a good identifier or spotter - however, I have found that I don't need to know which species name we have allocated them - I just know that I enjoy watching them all.

Now, at the risk of a little thread drift, perhaps I can address the mental health issue. Not long a go I suffered an episode that would once have been referred to as a 'nervous breakdown'. I won't go into the details but it was an awful experience. It was probably coming for some time but I either didn't recognise it or was too proud to accept that it was happening. Anyway, long story short, I have recovered. It took me a long time to admit I needed help but, when I did, I was lucky enough to find a wonderful counsellor. My family were also wonderful in their support - once we all understood what was happening to me. Anyway, the main thing of importance for this forum is that I also got great solace from my toddler grandchildren, my dog and the wild birds visiting my garden. None of them could talk to me about it or understand what was happening to me - yet they were my lifeline. I was feeling very down one day and sat glumly on the sofa. Suddenly, our dog (a cocker spaniel) jumped up beside me and flopped his full weight against my side. He then parked his chin on my shoulder and I swear he looked into my soul. There was such love coming from that animal that it took my breath away. Equally, just watching the grandchildren playing, trying to work things out and even trying to stand up, occupied my mind and reminded me of optimism and tenacity. Then came the birds; they transported me back to the air - back to the place where I loved to be and had spent 20,000 hours of my life. They flitted around, totally content with life, living one day at a time. How could I not recover with such help all around me?

It's probably against the forum rules but I think this is something so important that I hope the site administrators will bear with me and allow me to post a link to a short World Health Organisation video. This is simple but very powerful and instructive. I would urge anyone suffering from depression (or who suspects they may be suffering from it) or anyone who knows of someone struggling with 'The Black Dog' to take the four or five minutes to watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

If anyone reading this is feeling in the least bit down please let me know. I've been there myself and am here to help you now - oh, and so are the birds!!!  :)

Roly

Roly
Roly's picture

Eastern Spinebill

Roly
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Brush Wattle Bird?

Araminta
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These photos are absolutely stunningyes

(I'm not an expert on Wattlebirds, do you think this is a Brush Wattlebird because it has a rufous wing patch? But aren't they more whitish on the belly? Could still be a Little Wattlebird? I'm probably wrong?)

The Eastern Spinebills are superbyes

( it would even better if you would post a new species in a new thread, to make sure they don't get lost amongst others, and more people will get a chance to look and appreciate them)

M-L

Roly
Roly's picture

Hello M-L, I've no idea really - hence the question mark! I was just going by a book that Cheryl has and it seemed to fit reasonably well. I'll have another look.

I'm afraid the pics are not up to you standard but I am learning. I felt so proud when I put a watermark on them!!! Any tips please on how I can do it better?

I hadn't thought about a new post. Can pics be moved from one post to another or do they need to be uploaded again?

I hope I wasn't out of line with the rather verbose reply to Woko. Should I have put that in another section?

Best wishes, Roly

Roly
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You can see why I'd never make a good bird identifier!

The book, 'Birds Of The Yarra Catchment' describes only the Little Wattlebird with no mention of the Brush.

The 'Field Guide To The Birds Of Australia' describes both but only shows the Little in a small area in the south of WA.

Wikipedia then confuses the issue by saying that the Little is also known as the Brush!!!!

I give up!!! 

narly
narly's picture

Fantastic pics Roly , keep them coming . Little Wattlebird & Brush wattlebird are one in the same . Defineately not a Red & it can't be a Yellow or a Western ( wrong area ). smiley

Neil

Monti
Monti's picture

If one were to use the words "Least likely to be considered an expert here" then there is a fair chance that it would be with reference to myself. Particularly having taken ownership of Simpson and Day's field guide on Monday. But seeing the photos and the indecision on the wattlebird I thought I might have a look myself. S and D refer to the Little Wattlebird as the "Little (Brush) Wattlebirb. Rufous wing patch. Grey brown finely streaked, pale khaki iris. With a note to the fact that some Vic and NSW birds have pale and yellow belly flush.

If I had to judge I would have to assume that everybody was correct.

I do love the wattlebirds. The Red Wattlebird was the first (unknown to me) species that I successfully I.D.'d just two weeks ago with much googling so I think they will always have a soft spot in my heart.

May I also add..... Fantastic photos again Rolyd. That Canon and yourself are making a good partnership. I love the Spinebill also. I shall be on the lookout for him now.

All the best.

Monti.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

It's fine by me, wouldn't worry about it. I have been thinking about answering too.

You see, my daughter has suffered from depression and severe panic attacks for years. She had separation anxiety for a very long time, before we found the right psychologist to help. She totally relied on my support , there were countless days she couldn’t go anywhere, and when you would talk to her burst out in tears. Now I know, the signs were there from when she was a tiny girl. But as a mother you always find excuses like, O, she is just shy. She always was a very intelligent child, she had lots of talent in music , played the piano brilliantly, and was very good at playing tennis. She had the same coach as Steffi Graf when they were 4 years old, only she played much better than Steffi. But the problem should have been obvious to me back then, she didn’t want to go anywhere without me, she wanted me to stand next to her (at the net). Well, that didn’t work. There were many other things , she never seemed tired, always on the go , and didn’t want to sleep. She also had fears . I wish I would have known what I know now about anxiety in children, I could have found help much earlier. If we would be made aware of what depression in children looks like, years of suffering could be prevented. (Sometimes I feel guilty for not having recognised her suffering earlier, but the psychologist reassured me, by constantly being there for her most likely saved her life. Throughout her teenage years there were many days I worried about her ending her life) Now she is fine, she works hard as a vet nurse, still plays music, rides horses…. and, yes she has been married for 5 years. She has overcome many obstacles, like she used to be scared of flying, high buildings, tunnels and going to places she hadn’t been before. She does all those things now.

I wonder if the medical practitioners points out the symptoms of depression in children to parents these days? They didn't when my children were small.

Back to the photos, I'm not sure if you can move them. Don't worry, there will be many more of your photos .

M-L

Monti
Monti's picture

Hi there Woko.

Mine is but a brief response to your question. My own experience of depression was quite a few years back now and at the time was dealt with with a mixture of counseling and meditation. I'm afraid I can't attest to any part that sharing time with wildlife played in my recovery........But I can say this much;

When I am sitting or walking with my binoculars and I am able to study a bird, the experience is not unlike that of meditation. It is a time of focus, a feeling of being totally in the moment. Perhaps of being at one with your fellow creatures and your surroundings. The flow on is that during everyday life one becomes more aware of one's surroundings because there is this interest which naturally directs you there.

I can only see benefits for anyone who has the time or the inclination or indeed the opportunity to spend some of their day with this practice.

There is of course also the excitement of spotting and identifying something new and of being able to recognise when a species is close simply by its call which one has learned from one's research.

I find it a shame that the home you spoke of showed no interest in your suggestion. Medicine and care needs an holistic approach and I feel that the planting would have benefitted many species, not least the humans.

Best regards

Monti.

Roly
Roly's picture

Another of the Wattlebird!

Roly
Roly's picture

Another of the Spinebill.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Great work, the focus in the first one is nicely on the bird, I like it .

M-L

Roly
Roly's picture

Woko
Woko's picture

Thanks so much for sharing your stories, guys. You've caused me to think more deeply about why it is that many people are helped by contact with animals & nature. This is what I've been thinking:

Animals, whether they're pet dogs or wild birds or lizards, are uncritical. Pets, particularly, have an "unconditional positive regard" (check the work of therapists Carl Rogers & Robert Carkhuff) for us & I think this must surely be stress-reducing.

Colours & movement in nature are stimulating to the observer & provoke interest which can involve little effort on the part of the observer.

There are natural relationships occuring between wildlife & its environments which can provoke curiosity in the observer which can lead to enquiry & thereby bring about learning. Learning is intrinsically rewarding & promotes our self worth & self respect.

Observing natural things can put us in touch with memories of less complicated, less stressful times, usually in childhood before we began the relentless striving for material gain & status & all their related stressful activities.

Generally, our lives are spent getting & spending with little time for contemplation, another activity which is stimulated by observing nature & which reduces stress by taking us away from the daily grind of making decisions between competing values.

Nature is fundamental. It asks nothing of us yet it is the basis of our existence. It provides unconditionally so observing nature takes us away from the demands that are made of us in day to day living.

In bird watching, intense focus is often on the bird of flock of birds, even for short periods. We're undistracted by other events. Having to attend to just one thing is peaceful & more satisfying as we don't have to spread ourselves thinly among competing demands.

Roly
Roly's picture

Qyn
Qyn's picture

These photos are wonderful I have never got a full spinebill in a photo they are just too fast for me but they are among my many facourite birds - I think they look very dapper as if they are wearing a suit.

Alison
~~~~~~
"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

GeorgeP
GeorgeP's picture

Fabulous shots, Roly. What a beautiful part of the world to live. Thanks for sharing them and I look forward to seeing more from you. The Watllebird is indeed a Little Wattlebird.

Cheers,

George
Melbourne, VIC

Roly
Roly's picture

Thanks George.

Trying to get it to hold still long enough to photograph, I certainly called it 'Little'.

But it was more like, "Hold still, ya little bugger!" ;)

fazza
fazza's picture

 Im a novice photographer but wow, you have captured the vibrant colours beautifully. Favourite is the close up head peeking through. If I could get shots of wedge tailed eagles half as good I'd be happy. I Read with interest in a comment left about feeding bird seeds, and that maybe you should look at the dangers of feeding wild birds. I thought it was pointing out more to do with leaving meat and bread out in that video not so much the seeds which did state that you should only buy good seeds. I bring this up because I had just put up a bird feeder about 3 weeks ago before I joined this site. I buy seeds from a good pet store in Montrose. And clean area reguraly. Hope I'm not doing the wrong by the birds.

Anyway great pic's. 

Woko
Woko's picture

Fazza, you're doing well by ensuring that your feeding area is kept clean. However, the problem with artificially feeding even seeds to birds is that there's no guarantee the seeds are what the birds eating them would naturally eat. The counter argument to this is that if the seed-eating birds don't get their seed naturally because humans have wiped out their natural food source then we have to artificially feed seed to them. The counter argument to this is if humans have wiped out the birds' natural food sources then humans bear the responsibility of making amends by restoring their natural food sources in gardens, parks, streets, playgrounds, school yards, traffic roundabouts, supermarket car parks, church/mosque/temple yards etc. So, perhaps there is an argument for artificially feeding seed to birds until their natural habitat is restored but the importance of restoring natural habitat cannot be underestimated if we wish to preserve our diminishing wildlife for the long term.

darinnightowl
darinnightowl's picture

Hey Birdo's 
Just read all of these great stories and Woko you finished it off so well. Yes people do feed birds in one way or another none of us know what has happened in each of ours lives in the past.  I too had a breakdown from working in my own business for  20 plus years - lost all of my energy.   I was lucky I moved up the coast had a good support from family and escape with the birds etc..  And it Saved me!  Nature gave me back my mojo. I  did a bush regeneration course, worked on a local radio station in a gardening show.  I was the naturalist who told listeners about which plants attract wildlife, ID anything,  I guess what I am trying to say is nature is good for the soul, so by adding a bird bath,  little bits of seed or fruit, hybrid flowering plant, or  anything that brings back child hood happiness, so let it be.  Let's not jump on backyard birders who don't understand.   So whether you're a feeder, a story teller, a photo snapper, this could be their last resort to find friends with nature.

Hey Birdo's 
Just read all of these great stories and Woko you finished it off so well. Yes people do feed birds in one way or another none of us know what has happened in each of ours lives in the past.  I too had a breakdown from working in my own business for  20 plus years - lost all of my energy.   I was lucky I moved up the coast had a good support from family and escape with the birds etc..  And it Saved me!  Nature gave me back my mojo. I  did a bush regeneration course, worked on a local radio station in a gardening show.  I was the naturalist who told listeners about which plants attract wildlife, ID anything,  I guess what I am trying to say is nature is good for the soul, so by adding a bird bath,  little bits of seed or fruit, hybrid flowering plant, or  anything that brings back child hood happiness, so let it be.  Let's not jump on backyard birders who don't understand.   So whether you're a feeder, a story teller, a photo snapper, this could be their last resort to find friends with nature.

Hey Birdo's 
Just read all of these great stories and Woko you finished it off so well. Yes people do feed birds in one way or another none of us know what has happened in each of ours lives in the past.  I too had a breakdown from working in my own business for  20 plus years - lost all of my energy.   I was lucky I moved up the coast had a good support from family and escape with the birds etc..  And it Saved me!  Nature gave me back my mojo. I  did a bush regeneration course, worked on a local radio station in a gardening show.  I was the naturalist who told listeners about which plants attract wildlife, ID anything,  I guess what I am trying to say is nature is good for the soul, so by adding a bird bath,  little bits of seed or fruit, hybrid flowering plant, or  anything that brings back child hood happiness, so let it be.  Let's not jump on backyard birders who don't understand.   So whether you're a feeder, a story teller, a photo snapper, this could be their last resort to find friends with nature.

See it!  Hear it!

Mid-North Coast NSW

Roly
Roly's picture

Hello Darinnightowl,

Thanks for adding your comments to the thread. 

Can I say that I am so bloody proud of each of you here for having the courage to open up to the rest of us!

When I was suffering I was too proud/embarrassed/frightened to tell anyone. Once I knew that I was not alone and not 'going mad' I was able to start recovering. It's as if the boil had to be lanced before it would heal - a painful process but an essential one.

Thank you for sharing your stories - and can I ask anyone who is even the slightest bit concerned that they (or someone they know) might be suffering, to feel free to contact me. I'm not an expert in any way - but, having been through it, I DO understand! The hardest step is the first one - acknowledging the problem and telling someone!

I should add that it is amazing, when you tell someone of your own experience, how many will suddenly say that they have experienced it too - but were too embarrassed or never had anyone to talk to about it! It is far more common than we think and a lot of people are suffering in silence.

I also recommend a view of this short (4 minute) video from The World Health Organization, whether you personally are affected by depression or not:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

Woko
Woko's picture

Good one, darinnightowl. There's something about Nature that, as you say, is good for the soul. Although I haven't experienced the depression some folk have there was one occasion in particular when I felt intensely weighed down by the dysfunctional management I was working under so I found solace in the environment. It really worked, at least partly because it showed me that there's something incredibly bigger & more meaningful & satisfying in the world than mindless enforcement of useless bureaucratic rules.

That video was excellent, rolyd. Among other things it taught me I need to be mindful that getting involved with birds/the environment works for some people but may not work for everyone.

 and @UrbanBirdsOz  @birdsinbackyards
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