Review: Vivien Horler
Garden Birds in Southern Africa, by Duncan Butchart (Struik Nature)
Guide to Seabirds of Southern Africa, by Peter Ryan (Struik Nature)
Poor old hadedas – in his forward to this delightful guide Duncan Butchart says we often forget to appreciate the pleasure birds bring, “although granted, the Hadeda Ibises can be a bit irritating!”
But we’re not as mean as the Australians. The Australian white ibis, which closely resembles our sacred ibis, is known there as a bin chicken, dump chook or trash vulture. Not kind. A skein of ibises flying home to their roosts at dusk is a lovely sight.
If you enjoy seeing little flocks of small grey birds with smart red beaks alight on your grass, but have no idea what they are, this is an ideal book. They are not wild finches as I first thought, but common waxbills, much more charming than their name suggests.
For the second summer in a row, a pair of greater striped swallows have spent time perching on a candelabra over my patio dining table, chirring charmingly and giving me much pleasure. I’m learning to live with the resulting mess on the table and chairs.
In a foreword, Mark D Anderson of Birdlife South Africa says the birds in our gardens provide opportunities for observation, education and conservation, and a chance to introduce children to the natural world.
He says as the vastness of the natural world shrinks, urban environments like suburban gardens are becoming increasingly important for the conservation of biodiversity. “Gardens play a small, yet important, role in protecting our heritage.” Continue reading