The loss of shrubs from our box-ironbark country has been a major factor in the decline of woodland birds. A legacy of clearing and over-grazing has been compounded by the effects of prolonged dry periods, altered fire patterns, lack of natural regeneration and now the ongoing impact of native macropod browsing. The numbers of kangaroos and wallabies are supposed to be much higher now than before we ‘created’ their perfect habitat with many small dams in a mosaic of farmland and bush.
Small shrubs provide critical nesting habitat for small birds – I almost always head for areas with a good grassy and shrubby understorey … that’s where the birdsong is! This Buff-rumped Thornbill has selected a Gorse Bitter-pea as a nest site, an excellent choice as the spiky leaves and dense habit provide some level of security from predators.
Buff-rumped Thornbills don’t always nest in shrubs – over the years I’ve found them nesting on the ground in the base of grass tussocks and behind shrouds of peeling bark on eucalypts. They are an adaptable species.