Birds in the bush

A kookaburra perching on a rock in our yard.

Despite the dry weather recently, we have had a remarkable amount of wildlife visiting our garden in recent months.

Our most frequent and obvious visitor is a Brush Turkey who comes over our neighbour’s fence, into our orchard:

Brush Turkey
The brush turkey: find him below the glowing dak pot (organic fruit fly control)

Here he is, hiding at the back of the orchard, where I chased him for a photo. He’s a menace – he gets into the chicken coop and eats the food and scraps in there. Then, about midday he gets randy, and chases my chickens all around the orchard, trying to land on the back of them. O_o

This behaviour means that my poor chickens spend much of their time closed up in their coop, because they really hate this treatment, and I don’t want the turkey to keep coming back. Nothing seems to deter him, though. We will have to put the roof onto our orchard to keep him out once and for all!

Another visitor I spotted the other day is a nectar bird that comes in to sip from the Grevillea growing inside the chicken coop:

Bird flying crazily in the coop
I surprised this bird into crazy flight when I came in at the coop door.

This one visits much less frequently. They are hard to spot when they are sipping at the grevillea flowers, and it’s not until you startle them by coming near the coop that you even realise they are there!

Meanwhile, outside in the garden we often see kookaburras hunting in our yard:

A kookaburra perching on a rock in our yard.
A kookaburra fluffs its plumage after catching a meal in our garden.

This one was perched for several minutes on our lawn rock. Mostly they stop on top of the trellises where they get a great view of the garden. They wait and look at you out of side of their faces, then they swoop down to catch something tasty! Then they hop back up onto their perch and chill for a bit. 🙂

The chickens don’t mind the small birds visiting them. In fact, they are pretty relaxed birds in general. They are now ALL laying, although it was hard to tell that Cricket had started because her eggs are very similar to Raven’s:

Fresh laid chicken eggs from all four chooks
L to R: Matilda, Raven, Cricket, Harriet

Matilda’s eggs are distinctly whiter than the other eggs. And Harriet’s eggs are clearly different, being speckled and much darker brown. But until Cricket and Raven *both* laid an egg on the same day, I was not a hundred percent sure she had started laying.

I am now, though!

Chicken eggs often get bigger as a chicken gets older, so it’s possible that I’m mixing up Cricket’s egg with Raven’s. But the shorter egg is much the same as Raven laid last season, and the taller egg is much bigger … so I’m sticking with my guess for now. 🙂

By the by, I’ve finally settled on a good storage container for our fresh eggs: This is a wire basket from Ikea that I’ve lined with a tea towel. Ultimately I’d like to put it up on the wall instead of resting on the counter, but for now, it does fine.

If you collect your eggs straight from your hen (or buy them “farm fresh”) then you can store them out of the refrigerator for weeks. I turn them a little when I add new eggs, putting new ones in at the right hand side, and taking eggs from the left to eat.

Storing them this way means I’m always eating the oldest eggs first, and they aren’t sitting in ugly cardboard egg boxes on our counters. If the basket gets too full and I can no longer rotate the eggs, it’s time to give some away!

Do you have a favourite way to store your eggs?

I really love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment! :)

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