Some may think 2021 seemed endless, while others may swear it raced by. Anyway, the new year is here, and BirdLife Australia has some good news for those who like to plan their year on paper. The Birds on the Move: Connecting our World 2022 calendar features some of Australia’s most stunning birds.
“BirdLife Australia has been publishing an annual themed bird calendar for over ten years. Tous Les profits go to our critical conservation work, helping to safeguard Australia’s most vulnerable species and their habitats. In 2022, we’ll highlight some of Australia’s most majestic and endangered migrating bird species. This contains endangered species like the Swift Parrot, Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, and Eastern Curlew.”
“This calendar contains some of Australia’s top bird photographers — of various ages, backgrounds, and experiences,” stated a BirdLife Australia official. I gather photographs for the calendar through social media, image hosting platforms, and prior submissions to our annual BirdLife Australia Photo Awards. A record number of female and non-white photographers are included this year.
#1 January – Papuan Pitta
The Papuan Pitta is a mystery jungle dweller. Birds of New Guinea travel to the humid rainforests of the northern Cape York Peninsula to breed during the rainy season (between December and March). Despite their colorful plumage, these elusive birds are best heard rather than seen, hunting amid the leaf litter for prey.
#2 February – Dollarbird
Dollarbirds come in northern and eastern Australia around September to breed, then depart to New Guinea and Indonesia at the end of the summer.
These high rollers are commonly spotted on exposed perches like dead branches or powerlines, pursuing insect food.
#3 March – Eastern Curlew
The biggest shorebird is the Eastern Curlew. Every year, they fly from their breeding areas in Russia and China to the Australian beaches, navigating by the Earth’s magnetic field.
It is solely found in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. Sadly, the mudflats they need to migrate are being destroyed, and curlew populations have dropped by nearly 80% in only 30 years.
#4 April – Cape Petrel
During the winter months, Cape Petrels visit southern Australian waters, searching for krill, fish, and tiny squid. These distinctive black-and-white seabirds breed in colonies on Antarctica’s cliffs and subantarctic islands. During nesting, they are famously violent, spewing a foul-smelling stomach oil to deter predators and feed their babies.
#5 May – Orange-bellied Parrot
The Critically Endangered Orange-bellied Parrot is one of just a few migratory parrot species. These little parrots breed in south-western Tasmania before crossing the Bass Strait to winter in coastal Victoria and South Australia in the summer.
#6 June – Pink Robin
On a calm day, you may hear the twig-like tik, tik, tik of the Pink Robin’s gentle conversation. Pink Robins breed in the dark, wet eucalypt gullies or cold temperate rainforest in southeast Australia. The migration towards drier, open habitats, especially forests, in the winter.
#7 July – Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo
From early summer, Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos wheeling over Perth’s skyline is a common sight (and sound!). In July, these raucous flocks return to the Wheatbelt to nest.
Cockatoos consume a wide variety of foods, including banksia seedpods and gum nuts. They also like pinecones, and pine plantations are a good source of food. However, increasing land clearance, particularly in the Wheatbelt, has reduced their number by half in 50 years, making them endangered.
#8 August – Swift Parrot
The Swift Parrot is one of Australia’s few migratory parrots. These fantastic birds traverse the Bass Strait twice a year, from Tasmanian breeding grounds to south-eastern Australia.
#9 September – Pink-eared Ducks
Pink-eared Ducks are readily identified by their racing-stripe plumage. To filter out the microscopic invertebrates, they feed on; their odd-shaped bills enable them to draw water through their tip and discharge it via grooves down the side.
Pink-eared Ducks, like many inland waterbirds, are migratory, traveling sporadically in response to rainfall. In addition to broad open wetlands, huge flocks may emerge anyplace there is standing water.
#10 October – Rufous Fantail
Rufous Fantail’s aerial acrobatics are amazing. These delicate birds eat in the air, diving and twisting in a flurry of colors to grab airborne insects.
In the spring, they travel to south-eastern Australia to breed before returning north in the colder months. They may be found in unexpected areas like urban parks and gardens.
#11 November – Buff-Breasted Paradise Kingfisher
The Buff-Breasted Paradise Kingfisher migrates from New Guinea to its nesting habitat in the Wet Tropics of North Queensland around November.
#12 December – Crimson Chat
Crimson Chats spend their winters in northern Australia and their summers in the south. When dryness strikes severely, and the saltbush stops blossoming, fewer insects result and Crimson Chats irrupt in considerable flocks searching for food and water.
The sight of red bursts amid golden fields of canola in the south is beautiful, but it also warns of the severity of the drought.
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