Stage 4 Coronavirus lockdown birds

For the past several weeks now - it feels like an eternity - Melbourne has been in what authorities call "Stage 4 lockdown". We are allowed out for one hour per day for exercise, and can go shopping at the local supermarket, but only one at a time.

One thing that's not permitted is travelling to a bird watching area and strolling around with camera or binoculars. That's not considered "exercise" and neither is it on the way to the shop.

Legally, the only birding I can do is at home.

My garden is mostly native, meaning it does attract a number of birds. Numerically, however, visitors are largely Common Mynas and Spotted Dove. At least the Dove is a native.

So for something to do during lockdown, I rigged a feeding table in a White Cedar we have.


The White Cedar is beautiful, and has grown very large in the decade we've had it. The disadvantage is that it's severely impinging on my view of the sky, and I can't see to the south-west any longer for astrophotography.

The feeder base is a flat bit of wood with beading around it. This way, I can put a square ceramic plate on it to contain the seeds, and then wash that plate in the dishwasher to prevent the spread of any diseases. Beak and feather disease is, shall we say, unpleasant.

We use the "wild bird" seed from the supermarket. After some discussion on Birding-Aus, Lorikeets get limited quantities of the smallest seeds. Larger birds such as Cockatoos get larger seeds, mostly sunflower seeds.

We have a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets who we call Thomas and Geraldine, as well as a regular Sulphur Crested Cockatoo named Shirley. We have also had visits from a King-Parrot, a Raven and Pied Currawongs.

The dominance equations are quite complex. Shirley sees off everyone. Tom and Gerry together can see off the Doves and Mynas. One alone can too, but the effort keeps them from feeding. A group of Doves can keep Mynas at bay, but a pair of Mynas can see off a Dove.

Having the feeder has helped us stave off lockdown fever.