A kookaburra laughed in the old gum tree
Or is it just a lyrebird trying to fool me
There’s no better mimic than the Superb Lyrebird
I got blown away by what I had heard
Deep within the forest of the Dandenong's you’ll find
A bird that is quite different to most other kind
The male has a talent when it comes to singing song
Can display its feathers fine, and call out all day-long
Flight is not an attribute that's required to get it by
Prefers to walk or run around, it doesn't try to fly
Has legs so big and powerful, for swift movement over land
He’d lose you in the undergrowth, he’d soon get the upper hand
It’s winter in Victoria snows on the mountain peaks
Daylight hours are minimal as each day retreats
But in the dull and gloomy bush in the ranges day and night
Where fog and rain daily can prevail there is a ray of light
The courting ritual has now begun and is locally well renowned
Alone and in the darkest gully this performer can be found
A performance hardly to be compared with any other bird
In the bleak atmosphere it can get the emotions stirred
© Daryl Barnes 2016
The bush canaries think it’s rather cool
To see drongos in the swimming pool,
A mistletoebird feeds in the mulberry tree,
With every poo a seed is set free
When storm-birds and leatherheads finally meet,
You can hear their calls up and down the street
A kookaburra laugh can be very loud,
It would clearly stand out, when in any crowd
Who said things were dull, when it is quite clear,
But you must listen closely, to what you can hear
Use your eyes and your ears, and also your nose
You’ll be surprised at what they’ll expose
If you are no longer enchanted
And you take too much for granted
It’s time for a change
Rearrange your priorities or broaden your range
But treat every day, as if it were your last
As the days can go by, so very fast
So don’t dilly-dally, simply stop and change tack
Go find for yourself, a new walking track

© Daryl Barnes 2016



I went with a lady, her name was Tess

This day changed my life, well more or less

Tess introduced me to birds, now this I will confess

By taking me to a place, that relieved me of stress


Tess sat me down within this hide, where I had no room to move

But it turned out all okay, as it eventually did prove

I watched and I waited for a special bird

One I had never seen only its name I'd heard


In the quiet of the Aussie bush in the early morning light

I could hear calls from the chicks, advertising their plight

In the hole in a mound where the termites abound

They were calling for a treat hopefully a parent had found


Then all of a sudden a flash of colour caught my eye

Something had flown by and it landed close by

Ah, it's perched on a branch, so I focussed my gaze

The bird in full sun and well it did amaze


A typical kingfisher small and brightly coloured too

White streamers trailing at the rear, both long and there were two

Body markings were very clear, black blue red and white

The under body it was buff, a combination to delight


Its red beak held a sloppy grub, so one chick was in luck

Swift of flight down to the mound, into the hole its head stuck

Quickly then it disappeared, up the creek to my right

I could then relax and take a breath, remembering the sight


© Daryl Barnes 2016

I’m a squatter pigeon hear my call
I’m crying out to one and all
I spend my life mostly on the ground
That’s a big mistake as I have found
I need some room so I can roam
Somewhere secure I can call my home
I’m a painted snipe down by the swamp
I hear someone coming stomp stomp stomp
My wetland home is under threat
It was once described as a great asset
If they fill it up with the ocean floor
A new home I’ll need that is for sure
I’m a red goshawk you won’t find me
Because I don’t get on with the likes of thee
You deprive me of my privacy
I can’t tolerate your company
Wild and isolated country is where I’ll be
But I’m running out of space that’s free
I’m a honeyeater of the eungella range
I could be a victim of climate change
If I disappear who would really care
I am not pretty like others out there
My song is like a rusty turning wheel
Can’t sing and plain how do you think I feel
I’m a little finch that’s hard to find
Because my precious home has just been mined
You can identify me with a throat that’s black
And being sacrificed to fuel a chimney stack
To be left alone is what suits me
Can anybody out there hear my plea?
© Daryl Barnes 2016




I strolled along a well worn track where many hooves had been before

When screeching noises stopped me dead this enticed me to explore
Thoroughly I scanned a nearby tree and eventually I saw
Two fluffy chicks within a nest now this, I could not ignore
I searched the sky for an adult bird and into the bright sunlight
I focused on a bird that was hovering at low height
This bird was almost motionless it made an awesome sight
I recognised this carnivore as a stunning Black-shouldered Kite
Then like a rock it fell to earth to a place I could not see
When immediately another bird flew in from another tree
It disappeared like a bullet fired joining the other, almost certainly
I was anxious to take a look so I moved forward, stealthily
The hungry chicks were silent now I could no longer hear
As I focused on the adult pair now a view of them was clear
At the entrance to a rabbit burrow a catch had been secured
Their prey, a kitten, had been seized, so a meal for all assured
With flapping wings both birds took off and up into the sky
The claws of one still firmly clamped as it struggled to get high
The dangling rodent rising up, destination was close by
The two young chicks would eat today, fresh meat to satisfy
Contented parents on a bare limb perched bathed in the midday light
The rays upon their feathers white made them glow like beacons bright
Their hunting skills were on display feeding chicks with appetites
For them it’s just another day in the life of Black-shouldered Kites
© Daryl Barnes 2016



On the tenth of December and I noted it down

Four birds arrived just prior to sundown

Attending to their needs in the bird bath they bathed

One happy family, or that’s how they behaved


In the days that followed on, the scene quickly changed

As I soon realised only one bird had remained

What actually transpired, no way I could explain

But I’m glad that one stayed, hung around to entertain


It’s the White-browed Robin which I’m referring to

This busy little bird always makes a great view

When I’d be in the yard it sometimes would come near

And first thing each morning I’d hear its call crisp and clear


As the weeks went on by I kept hearing its song

In no hurry to move on, it seemed to belong

Either land on the ground, or outdoor furniture upon

Interact with other birds, they all seemed to get along


But like all good things they come to an end

As the wet season disappeared so did this little friend

And if I had special powers I would wave a magic wand

I’d have the White-browed Robin stay tomorrow and beyond


But I had no control over whether it came or it went

JI can question the reason, then can only lament

It left with no warning, never called to say goodbye

I daily miss that little bird, now that, I can’t deny


© Daryl Barnes 2016




The Crow and the Currawong, the Kookaburra and the Cockatoo

Distinct when they call out, like the night time cries of a Bush Stone-curlew

And there’s another that we know, it’s rarely seen but often heard

To me is an Aussie icon, by name is the Eastern Whipbird


It has a call that is unique often loud and often clear

There is never any doubt, what’s making the sound you hear

The only problem we all have, is trying to see the bird

As it scratches on the forest floor, stays out of sight but often heard


It can pose quite a challenge, when the sound is close remains out of sight

A camouflaged bird it blends in well and rarely resorts to flight

Scratching among the fallen leaves, that’s a give away

Watch with patience and you know, some luck might come your way


Now if you listen with intent once you’ve heard the ‘whip-crack’ sound

You may hear a female’s quick answer if around

Just like a reflex action, it creates one sound not two

So when you hear it next, listen out for the ‘choo choo’


So when you go out searching, don’t expect a sighting clear

Or take a photograph, which does not have a smear

No don’t be disappointed, or come away frustrated

If you persevere for long enough, one day you’ll be elated


It may happen on a day, when you haven’t heard a call

Or tracking down some other bird, some other that is small

Then the sighting it will be a bonus for that day

And much more special naturally if a good photo comes your way


When you see it clear that very first time you’ll remember forever where

So take a moment to reflect, the experience you can share

Try to savour every detail because soon the whipbird will disappear

Do you regard it as an icon, like others you see and hear?


© Daryl Barnes 2016



We built our house up on the hill

with an ocean view for some, would kill

No better place, I’d rather be

on a summers day with the beer on chill

Our home had shelter, from the east

thanks to trees, now tall and dense

But facing north, and out the front

we added fill, and a new low fence


The landscapers, arrived this day

began mapping out, from the builders plan

They took measurements, and marked the grass

with white lines, from in a can

Two loaded trucks, were on their way

one with soil, the other had sand

Large rocks too, were another load

all designed to make it grand


When I sat down, to take a break

something flashed, right by my eye

Again I saw it, just another glance

as it whizzed past, at about head high

Several times, did I see this sight

so I followed the path, that I thought it took

Over to the other side, of the acre block

so I had to go, for a closer look


And there I saw, in the pile of soil

a small neat round hole, that wasn’t there before

So I kept back, and waited a bit

then out it shot, and disappeared next door

It was a small bird, a Striated Pardalote

that flew out quick, and stopped in a tree

Now that I knew, what was going on

I could place a sign, for all to see


And now each day, we were entertained

although we made, a change of plan

Until the Pardalotes, were done and gone

on one pile of soil, was placed a ban

So we got on, with the job at hand

leaving the birds, to do their thing

We’d see them come, and we’d see them go

we’d hear them call, and hear them sing


© Daryl Barnes 2016



Within the Eungella National Park that is isolated and unique
There lives a certain bird, one people regularly go to seek
I call it the ‘Pocket Rocket’ and to see it is a treat
Living up there at altitude where the atmosphere’s mystique  

There’s an early morning chorus where birds welcome in the day
Just which call belongs to which, well that’s sometimes hard to say
For the novice it’s not easy to know just what you’ve heard
You’ll need to hear it several times, to become familiar with this bird

It has the name of Eungella Honeyeater, loud and clear does it call
It sings out like no other for a bird that is quite small
Spend some time within this land and you’ll get to know it well
If you hear and see it regular you’ll soon be able to tell

When you get a glimpse from far away, it might seem nothing grand
No bright or coloured patterns, yes it may look rather bland
But focus on it with your bins you’ll see a facial mark
Then lock it in your memory bank for the next time you embark

Now when you’re searching for this bird, as at times is hard to find
Look for its favourite flowering plant the Climbing Pandanus Vine
This climbing plant clings to a trunk that’s usually long and straight
When it’s in flower there’ll be reward, if you’ve patience and can wait

The distribution of the Pocket Rocket is the smallest in the land
And yet little study has been done to see just where we stand
How do the numbers really stack, does its future look secure?
Until more surveys have been done, we don’t know that for sure

People come from near and far to see the small grey bird
To the place called Eungella, where they can’t pronounce this word
Within this dwindling habitat it noisily darts among the trees
This little pocket rocket, also attracts people from overseas
© Daryl Barnes 2016
We have a garden pest you see that’s not a grub or insect
It is considerably larger than these, one we dare not ever neglect
A Brush Turkey male patrols the fence that runs beside the creek
He wants to enter our house yard so havoc he can wreak
Today he thinks it safe enough, as he can’t see me around
Over the fence no trouble at all, without the slightest sound
Surveying the yard just once more, he sees nothing to be feared
Missiles like a broom and rake, for now have disappeared
Now like a wide-eyed child inside a candy mart
He has so many choices, and is not sure where to start
Perhaps beneath the big fig tree, there’s a fresh new garden bed
Plants are surrounded by a border and mulch uniformly spread
This will make for easy work, using his turkey technique
So he starts to relocate the plot, move it all to his mound in the creek
Soon everything is flying out behind, as each leg gets an equal turn
A waste of time pausing for a break, he’s got energy yet to burn
With unwavering determination, this bird is soon in top gear
With soon a trail right through the yard
Now he knows what he has to do and his mind it is quite clear
And so gets on with the job at hand, to him it is not hard
There are plants coming out one and two at a time
And anything loose that gets in the way
This mature adult male is still in his prime
And still commands respect each day
He keeps an eye out as he scratches, never relaxed without a care
And he will not be satisfied until this garden is all bare
The task at hand does seem immense
But he’ll continue on relentlessly, until it’s all up against the fence
U-oh, there comes a warning sound, the front gate catch goes clink
The situation has now changed, so he is forced to quickly think
It’s no longer safe in here, it’s time to get out quick
Then whistling past his left ear goes, the dreaded flying broomstick
Sprinting fast towards the creek he leaps up on the fence
With neck arched high he hoots defiantly in defence
“I’ll be back just you wait and see you won’t get rid of me.”
I watched the turkey as he flee, our garden pest now you’ll agree
 © Daryl Barnes 2016



At Birthday Creek for me a treat, two bowerbirds there’d be

And by the car park plain and neat, a tooth-billed bower to see

Upturned leaves both large and green, plucked from a nearby tree

The male was calling continuously, perched overhead of me

There a pathway entrance beckoned, that I enter and explore
Enticing me to step right through, an unsigned welcome door
Encouragement I needed not, because I wanted more
So the meandering track I followed, on the leafy carpet floor
Prehistoric plants grew here, high overhead they tower
Engulfed and overawed by size, within they held great power
A world of myth and mystery, new discoveries by the hour
Immersed in great diversity, where the canopy does flower
Amid tree trunks long and straight, in my tracks I stop
Frozen to the very spot, I watch a dead leaf drop
But something bright had caught my eye, just wasn’t sure of what
A ray of sunlight caught a bird, I got a brief snapshot
Softly I continued on, whilst scanning all around
The I heard a call ‘twas new, a gentle kind of sound
Foreign to my well-trained ear, distinct and was profound
Then at last I saw it, and wow it did astound
There was a Golden Bowerbird, of brown and gold design
Stood on a perch above his bower, his calls rang out so devine
Clearly visible to me now, this handsome feathered figure fine
A natural wonder of our land, another great memory of mine
From my comfy tree log seat, that had been used by quite a few
I watched on with great intent, at a scene fascinating and new
Then with flight swift and direct, down to his bower he flew
He fussed about for a minute or two, did only what he had to do
…..and was gone.

 © Daryl Barnes 2016

Our summers can be long so we like to keep cool
Spangled Drongos they too, take dips in our pool
But the bird bath is where local birds are refreshed
Where there’s plenty of low cover suiting smaller birds best
It is late afternoons when the bath’s hotly in demand
Birds form a queue, most know where they stand
Aggressive honeyeaters like lewin’s rarely back off an inch
They’ll occupy the scene and you won’t see them flinch
Other honeyeaters too like the yellow, dusky and brown
Regular they call for a dip, common in this part of town
This bath is shallow, suits short legs and small feet
Like the large-billed and the fairy, for gerygone’s it’s a treat
Both the chirpy Willy Wagtail and the shy Silvereye
Never seem in a hurry when they decide to drop by
As for the Little Shrike-thrush, it’s rarely seen in a rush
It hops in for a good splash then is off in a flash
Now if birds could smile, put a grin on their dial
Then there’s never any doubt, it’s whilst they’re splashing about
And so after a good bath and a long thorough preen
They will be well prepared and can go to bed clean
And at night in my dream there could be a scene
Featuring the biggest bird bath and biggest party ever seen

© Daryl Barnes 2016



Water got pumped from Bendigo’s underground

So man could do work and so gold could be found

Leached arsenic and salt flowed through the long pipe

With water they arrived to evaporate in the daylight


Now these shallow ponds were wide and were flat

For certain bird species created a good habitat

That is where we saw the White-fronted Chat

Foraging the waterline for this and for that


Black Ducks and Coots, this day dominated the scene

Black Swans and Masked Lapwings were scattered in between

But there was another species, one I’d never before seen

In a large compact group some at rest and others preen


So we searched through the pages of our birding guide

Then worked out a plan best way to reach the far side

As a much closer view we did need to get

To make sure our I.D. was of the Red-necked Avocet


So we took opposite paths to seek a closer look

Searching for the colours like it showed in the book

Then as we approached to the sky they all fled

 In perfect formation and expertly led


Field glasses were raised, beneath brim of straw hat

To see a brown front, wings white and striped black

And no, I had never seen their peculiar shaped beak

A distinctive curve up, long black and quite sleek


Now the leaders up front were in charge of selection

Keeping the flock bunched together, keeping perfect formation

Every one of two hundred, were drilled to perfection

With each tuned to the other, for a change of direction


In a big Mexican wave, they then all turned about

In a sweeping wide arc, before they levelled right out

With the sun high behind me their colours were now striking

The pattern of the flock was one magnificent sighting


It was like a floating magic carpet, like an army regiment

They landed back where they’d begun, the performance now spent

So I met with my friend, we both smiled you can bet

We’d witnessed a show by the Red-necked Avocet




So now what is the future of these Dotterel and co

Does anyone care about where they might go

When the mine closes down and all the water is gone

Leaving arsenic and salt and a landscape forlorn


Long hot summer days gradually exposes the clay

Reduces pond volume each day by day

Some species may leave whilst others may stay

Yes man first provides then he takes away


But who monitors the birds as for now look okay

For poison intake, safe limits I can’t say

Perhaps they have a filter to sort good from bad

Or do they have a clinic where a check up can be had?

© Daryl Barnes 2016



I was enjoying a beer on my seat by the creek

Watching a Brush Turkey pecking with his beak

Continually he scratched, attending to his mound

Checking and guarding the eggs underground


Then a visitor arrived, ‘twas the pig from next door

It was out for a stroll, it was out to explore

Yes Patsy was a sow, one big round and fat

So would easily squash, the turkey if it sat


Alert to the new sound the Brush Turkey looked around

Standing tall on his mound, he was on home ground

He saw Patsy casually approach, her frame coloured black

Now she was getting too close, so it was time for turkey attack


His strong legs went to work flinging sticks in the air

Trying hard to deter Patsy but she didn't seem to care

She was minding her own business as she shuffled slowly about

Was sniffing all around with her twitching sensitive snout


There was debris galore now being sprayed over her

The turkey was relentless, his rotating legs just a blurr

Patsy finally relented as the attention started to annoy

So she found a tree trunk to rub on and enjoy


But, still not satisfied that the pig was no longer a threat

This proud male Brush Turkey wasn't done with it yet

So he raced right on over and being ever so bold

Eyed the pigs twitching tail and with its beak it took hold


Well you should have seen Patsy, she took off at top pace

And headed straight for home with the Brush Turkey in chase


Yes the things that you see and I saw this quite clear

Whilst on my seat by the creek and enjoying my beer


© Daryl Barnes 2016




On the ground beneath a tall gum tree, for a predator, easy prey

Lay a baby bird with no defence and unable to fly away

This Sulphur-crested Cockatoo would make a tasty meal

For the likes of a fox or mighty eagle to come along and steal


But my Dad came to its rescue, brought it home to his work shed

So I went along to check it out and took with me a slice of bread

A sugar bag covered cage I saw, one corner I slowly raised

Inside I saw a cockatoo staring back at me rather dazed


In good time the cockie settled, became content and unafraid

Whilst we soon got accustomed to that loud screeching noise it made

A sulphur-crested’s fearsome beak is one you must beware

It can easily pierce your tender skin, so ignore it if you dare


We built its home up in a tree beside the back yard track

‘Cocky want a cup of tea’, it soon could answer back

All we kids were active kids and were always out-of-doors

We’d say ‘hello’ to cocky as we went about our chores


Then we moved house not far away, of course, cocky came with us

A big ordeal for the family cat, for cocky, it was no fuss

When I finished school and went away I’d always be welcomed back

Once cocky heard my familiar voice it’d carry on, like a maniac


Forty years or more went by, other pets they came and went

But then one dark and stormy night, there was a sad event

Somehow the gate was prized ajar and a prowler stepped inside

Head under wing and fast asleep, poor cocky, hadn’t anywhere to hide


The morning light did tell the tale of what went on that night

One cocky foot lay amongst, white feathers scattered on the site

A hungry fox it got the blame, our cockie was killed and ate

Now all we’ve left are memories, of our sulphur-crested mate


© Daryl Barnes 2016




I was walking my dog along a farm track

I’d throw her the ball Bindy would fetch it straight back
Something caught my eye, on a fence wire it landed
A tiny little bird and my attention it commanded


When Bindy soon returned with the ball in her teeth

The little bird disappeared into low mulga heath

But I’d hardly moved on when that little bird returned

This time with friends, although Bindy wasn’t concerned


This time, the ball I through further, to give me time to concentrate

How many were there, I counted, there was eight

Although all were the same size one wasn’t the same

I studied the details so I might find out its name
Arriving back at the homestead, Bindy got s pat and some food
Went inside to Dad’s office, to the computer screen was glued
His concentration was intense so I was reluctant to intrude
Instead I went and found Mum who seemed in a fine mood
On a shelf of the bookcase she located a bird guide
It was grand-dads old book, well worn on the outside
Within too were torn pages so the task took for ages
Trying to pronounce the strange words and examine all the birds
But my perseverance paid off and I marked the page with a pen
The name given to this bird was the Red-backed Fairy-wren
Mum was in the kitchen, so I shown her what I’d seen
And she said I’d done well, for a mere boy of thirteen
It was the male of the species that stood out from the rest
His brilliant red on black, made him the prettiest
Amongst his harem of females that followed him around
It said in the guide book they live close to the ground
Taking place forty years ago, the event signaled the start
It started a life-time of pleasure, for this ole birding fart
And with camera in hand and still trying to learn the art
I’m still traveling this land along with my favourite ole tart
© Daryl Barnes 2016




If you’re up town for wining and dining
Or the clubs and the pubs are the lure
The city heart has a noise that’s defining
And it’s something you’ll have to endure

As each night around dusk, set the time on your clock

The Royal Palms will come alive in the streets

For visitors to town this can be a shock

To witness a performance, by our noisy lorikeets


These birds come together, no matter the weather

Some people can’t hack it and they call it a racket

They say screeching and squawking, to them it aint talking

They say, cut down the trees, but everyone you can’t please

No there’s nought can be done, so let the birds have some fun
And a morning job just for you, is cleaning away all their poo
So come hear the sounds of Mackay and surrounds
The animals we have here can bring music to your ear
Like flying fruit bats that fight louder than tom cats
And the Bush Stone-curlew that has frightened quite a few
With its communal waling cries echoing through our night skies
Yes, come hear the sounds of Mackay and surrounds,
You’ll be so glad you did.

© Daryl Barnes 2016



When you hear, of a sighting that’s new

And you’ve checked that it’s true, as all good birders do

Take down the details then share it around

So that others know where and what has been found

On the day that I went, to see what was there
It didn’t take long to find them I swear
A family of five was all I could see
As they went about their business not bothered by me
At an inner-city school on a grassy playground
Where children would play and could run all around
Plus busy town traffic with regular noise quite profound
Yet here were these birds looking healthy and sound
When I approached them they didn’t seem to mind
They continued without fuss pecking seed of some kind
At the same time kept in contact with each other as they roamed
Were never far apart, over the ground surface they combed
These very social birds seemed content with their lot
Well established they were in this central town spot
Elsewhere only isolated sightings, or so I had heard
Of this unique feathered animal called the Apostlebird
© Daryl Barnes 2016



Wouldn’t it be grand, to spread my wings and fly

Fly just like a bird and fly away up high

Take a look around a town and see what’s going on

Peer down into places, where others do belong


Wouldn’t it be grand, to be able to glide

Glide just like a kite, on thermals take a ride

Drift with little effort, where there is lots of room

Roam throughout the open sky, just like an air balloon


Wouldn’t it be grand, to live up in a tree

Share your living quarters with a bat or a native bee

Take a shower in the rain then dry out in the sun

Call out to your neighbours and have them over for some fun


Wouldn’t it be grand, to go where ever you please

Travel many kilometres with ridiculous of ease

Take a well worn flight path, follow to a foreign shore

Use the map that is installed, it’s all been done before


Wouldn’t it be grand, yes I would like to try

With strong wings and feathers, fly through the sky

Live your life as if a bird and spy with an eagle eye

Oh wouldn’t it be grand, would you also like to try?


© Daryl Barnes 2016



From my hospital bed, the sight that I see
Is a dedicated nurse, fussing over me
I lie at rest and relaxed and doing as I'm told
When in need of anything, I press the buzzer and hold
I turn my head, look out through the window glass
Plants are neat and hedged, green is the grass
There's a magpie prodding, on the open lawn
Busy collecting worms, for its hungry new-born
But once the feeding is all done
It'll be lookout everyone
As from a vantage point, in a tall flowering gum
This bird will be poised, I think it's time now to run
Yes we're all at risk, no we can't relax
It is nesting season, and the Magpie attacks
Whether you’re friend or you're foe, the magpie knows
So you'd better cover up, both ears and your nose

© Daryl Barnes 2016

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