Birds of the Desert

Australia has some funny looking birds. Okay, so that isn’t actually a bird but a Thorny Devil. Cute little guy. I met him in the early morning at the Alice Springs Desert Park, which was my first destination of a busy day. The Desert Park lies several kilometers outside of town and has created 3 distinct ecosystems on their grounds to show the varied effects of desert life. The grounds themselves were quite nice but the highlights were the nocturnal exhibit (not pictured, as one might imagine) and the free-flying bird show.

I say free flying because they are completely out in the open here. The birds of the show are free to go where they want, though they are well trained. Like these pair of Pink Galahs, a common species of cockatoo found throughout Australia. I’ve seen them quite often.

Then it was onto a nocturnal animal, but not one unique to Australia.

The Barn Owl, which was made Australia a cozy home. Adaptable and swift in the night, this little guy was fun to watch.

But there was a constant strange sound that a few of us heard. The guide pointed to the rafters above us.

A Tawny Frogmouth bird, he was sort of snoring. He actually wasn’t part of the show but just hanging out in the area.

The show continued with a long-legged feathered guest (whom I forget the name of).

After this guy had strut his stuff around the crowd the ranger brought out a falcon to entertain us. This is a common Brown Falcon. It’s very much a perching-type bird, where it will sit still and wait patiently for something to catch it’s sharp eyes before swooping down on it.

The final bird was larger the the Brown Falcon though, and it’s method of attack and lifestyle was very different. It was the Black Kite, which rarely sets down on the ground.

The Black Kite was impressive, swooping down quickly to pick up food opportunistically (it is a scavenger, in addition to hunter), both out of the air and from the ground. The Kite would constantly be airborne – it didn’t even need to stop to eat, it was agile enough to move food from it’s talons to beak while in the air. Pretty impressive!

But enough of the birds, I was out in this region for two reasons. The first was the desert park, the second…Mt. Gillen.

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