I’ve often been asked to identify a bird that someone has spotted, the conversation generally proceeding along the following lines – “it was brown, it had a stubby bill, it was making this sort of ‘squeaking noise’, it was bigger than a sparrow … but smaller than a magpie”. All useful bits of information and with further interrogation the field is narrowed down to a list of likely suspects. One question that I often politely ask is … “Where was it when you saw it and what was it doing?”
The response is almost always helpful. For instance, if the bird was seen feeding on the ground in an open area it may well be one of the two species pictured below.
It pays though to be open to other possibilities – Spotted Pardalotes are a species of the eucalypt canopy, but can sometimes be seen feeding on the ground for insects and fallen lerp, especially at this time of year.