15 August 2008

When birds turn...........

Sydney Botanical Gardens are beautiful any time of the year. I try to go as often as I can to watch the gardens change with the seasons. The harbourside location is hard to beat too.

Last week while I was there I couldn't help noticing the figs laden with fruit. One such is Ficus virens. There are a number of different figs in the gardens so this year there is plenty of food for the local birds and fruitbats. Tis a season of plenty at the moment.

Unfortunately the plenty also refers to the number of fruit bats living in the gardens, I have heard as high as 30,000. It is quite a wonderful and unusual experience to place yourself under the bat path and watch them exit each evening at dusk to fly to feed in nearby suburbs. Sadly there numbers are destroying large parts of the garden as they damage emerging shoots or break off branches.

But back to the fig.
This tree can, at most, be just over 200 years old and so is just a baby.

Underneath the fig, if you look carefully, you will see a couple feeding the birds. These are not pigeons or doves or other softy type birds. These are Australian sulphur crested cockatoos, with huge beaks meant for cracking open nuts and ripping holes in tree trunks to extract tasty grubs. There are signs around begging people not to feed the birds, but they are ignored. I would probably ignore them too if I weren't such a Goody Twoshoes.

Ignore at your peril. Here is what happens when you run out of food but the birds haven't run out of hunger.

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