Thorns and Thornbills

One of my favourite native plants is the Hedge Wattle Acacia paradoxa. This once maligned shrub is remarkable habitat for small birds, its dense habit and abundant spines proving perfect for shelter, nesting and feeding. Birds such as wrens, thornbills and finches love Hedge Wattle and sometimes a number of active nests can be found together. Earlier this week at the Rise and Shine a mixed flock of thornbills (Brown and Yellow) were happily exploring a single Hedge Wattle for insects.

Brown Thornbill perched on Hedge Wattle, Rise and Shine, 19th June 2012.

A Yellow Thornbill searching for insects.

A spiny sanctuary from predators for this Brown Thornbill.

Once regarded as a noxious weed in parts of Victoria, largely because it was seen as rabbit harbour, Hedge Wattle is now better understood. It is widespread throughout the goldfields landscape and its bright yellow flowers are a delightful feature of a terrific plant. The ecology of this species is proving very interesting for scientific studies of relationships between fire and ecological succession. Visit Charles Sturt University researcher Ian Lunt’s excellent blog to learn more.

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