A real delight over the last few weeks has been having a pair of Eastern Spinebills (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) visit the garden. These little honeyeaters are quite small and can be hard to spot, as they fly very rapidly and rest infrequently.
The Eastern Spinebills are only about 14cms in length and have a beautiful neat feathered bib and jacket. As you will see here they are probably the nearest thing we have to hummingbirds, as they can sometimes hover while feeding, which is not usual for Australian birds.
While these birds will happily visit gardens in built up areas, they aren’t as relaxed about it as the bigger wattle birds or parrots. They will only come to the garden if there is something producing tasty nectar for them, or a ready supply of small flying insects. They will also look for gardens that provide a bit of cover to dart into.
The pair are clearly making the most of the couple of native plants we currently have in the garden that are now big enough to provide some cover.
Now I’m all the more excited about cutting down the old neglected plum trees at the back of the yard and replacing them with a native bird garden full of the flowering plants they love (along with a few prickly ones to keep the cats at bay!)