(This article first appeared in the July 2012 edition the newsletter of BirdLife Plett and is loaded with the permission of the Editor. - Ed).
A short note by Alastair Grant
Our home has a traditional South African veranda overlooking Robberg Vlei. I love this place – with the wind in the reeds, birdsong and frog calls at night. It is very African – reminding me of my boyhood in Central Africa when we camped out and listened to the night noises.
I provided a perch on the veranda for birds which come to our breakfast table. It has proved to be an astonishing success. Birds come to it all through the day even though they only expect a few crumbs at breakfast time. From this elevated vantage point they can keep an eye on the vlei and the lawn where there’s a birdbath. This too is very popular as there is no open water on the vlei. A forest vine now covers the veranda and a Loerie sometimes lands on the perch giving me an excellent chance of a close up shot. Fiscal Fly-catchers, Cape Weaver’s and Bulbuls take advantage of it too Hoopoe and Fork-tailed Drongos on the bird perch overlooking Robberg Vlei.
We have discovered a symbiotic relationship between Drongos and the Hoopoe. They like to watch him probing his long bill into the soil and see what comes up. Although Hoopoe gets robbed he tolerates them and they seem quite happy together on the perch.
It’s early July and birds are nest building already. A little female Lesser Double-collard Sunbird seems almost recklessly tame. She flies into the living room and pulls at threads on the rug and a mohair covered cushion. She had a go at some threads showing from a hole in and old takkie and then landed on my head to try and pull out a few grey hairs! I think this must be her first season. An older bird would surely be wiser.