Birdwatching kit available to borrow from the library.
This exciting new birdwatching resource will encourage you to get outdoors and admire the amazing birdlife found in Cockburn. The toolkit is available for loan from all Cockburn libraries. Borrowers are invited to enter sightings in the log book.
Each kit contains:
- Mini-twitchers bird ID flipbook
- Shorebirds ID booklet and bird ID logbook
- Set of binoculars
- Set of 10 bird call CDs for hundreds of species
- Brochures including Cockburn map
- Australian birds field guidebook
NB A special toolkit for groups and schools is available from the Cockburn Wetlands Centre.
- Keep your distance
- Move slowly with little noise
- Stay on trails, paths, boardwalks
- Do not touch nests, eggs or young birds
- Observe so they don’t know you are there…
Birds of Cockburn
There are a number of birds in Cockburn areas and reserves, they play both a useful role in balancing the natural ecosystem and can be a natural pest agent. Before you borrow the bird ID toolkit you can read up on the following information about birds in Cockburn put out by Environment Services at the City of Cockburn. The text from each brochure is replicated below or you can view the complete pdf versions:
- Feed a Bird, How Absurd! – Why we should let birds feed themselves (pdf)
- Birds and Reserves of the City of Cockburn (pdf)
- Living with wildlife (pdf)
Feed a Bird, How Absurd! – Why we should let birds feed themselves
Why let birds feed themselves?
When we feed birds in our local wetlands we can unintentionally harm them and pollute their homes. Water birds in particular are adapted to their watery homes with specialised beaks or bills for feeding. Foot design can also tell us a lot about a bird’s diet. Wild birds are meant to look after themselves for a number of reasons relating to their health, survival and their natural environment.
Impact on Birds
Feeding birds bread or other food matter in your local lake or wetland can be detrimental to a birds’ survival. The main impacts relate to sickness or disease and food dependency.:
- Sickness and Disease – Just like humans birds have an inability to digest particular foods. Eating ‘human’ food like bread rather than natural food sources like insects,
snails and worms can cause malnourishment and sickness. Rotting bread in the water can lead to additional sickness and disease spread.
- Food Dependency – Birds can become dependant on human feeding and can concentrate in high numbers around wetlands and lakes. This reliance can lead to aggressive behaviour, overpopulation and even delay migration patterns. Young birds can die as they lack skills to forage for food. Overpopulation then leads to over grazing, disease spread, loss of offspring and crowding out of other species’ breeding sites.
Impact on Lakes and Wetlands
Did you know bird feeding can lead to unhealthy wetlands and lakes? The main impact relates to a reduction in water quality and subsequent environmental degradation.
Water Quality – Uneaten decaying bread and other food matter can cause a build-up of nutrients (eutrophication). It only takes 1-2 grams of phosphorus from bread to turn a lake the size of a backyard pool nutrient rich. Excess nutrients and overpopulation can also be linked to:
- Algal blooms (including toxic blue-green algae) and aquatic weeds;
- Botulism and other bird diseases spreading between wetlands;
- Decreases in water quality;
- Reduction in dissolved oxygen leading to fish kills and other fauna deaths; and
- Reduced animal and plant diversity
Interaction without Interference
If you are interested in interacting with our wetland birds why not try the following:
- Bird Watching! – Use the map in this brochure to locate wetlands for bird watching in the City of Cockburn. Grab some binoculars and get spotting! (or borrow the Bird ID kit from the library)
- Plant a Native Garden! – Native gardens full of flowers are one of the best ways to attract birds. Flowering plants attract insects also which encourages even more birds!
- Build a Bird Bath! – Bush birds like honeyeaters love to frolic in bird baths. Remember to locate the bath off the ground away from predators and clean it regularly!
Please help our birds feed themselves!
View the pdf version of this information (includes map): Feed a Bird, How Absurd! – Why we should let birds feed themselves (pdf)
Birds and Reserves of the City of Cockburn
This guide features illustrations and descriptions of birds commonly found in Cockburn. Those featured have been selected as among the most easily identified, commonly seen or of significance eg endangered. This guide was produced in conjunction with Birdlife WA as part of their series: Bird Guides of Western Australia. Birdlife WA has also produced two separate bird guides just for Bibra Lake – (Bibra Lake A (pdf) & Bibra Lake B (pdf).
Living with Wildlife
Cockburn is fortunate to have large areas of natural habitat for wildlife to live in. Most native animals are easily scared and will move off quickly if startled. If you come across a native animal keep calm and quiet. Some of the common wildlife you may come across are:
- Bobtail Lizards: most active during spring and summer
- Frogs: most active during winter and spring
- Water Birds: active all year round
- Snakes: most active during spring and summer
- Bandicoots: active all year round
- Oblong Turtle: most active during spring to autumn
Interaction without interference
Feeding animals often results in them becoming dependant and increases the chances of nuisance situations arising. It can also lead to loss of predator avoidance skills.
Bread in our waterways also contributes significantly to poor water quality which can result in disease and death for native water birds and other animals.
Help support our wildlife
Planting native plants is a great way to attract more wildlife into your garden. Native plants provide shelter and food resources for native animals, as well as beautiful flowers and shade for you and your family. Bird baths or frog ponds will also help attract wildlife into your garden, especially in summer.
In your backyard
Animals (just like us) need food and shelter, you may find them in your backyard. Generally these are occasional visits but if you have problems with a native animal please contact your nearest wildlife specialist: Department of Parks and Wildlife Wildcare Hotline : 9474 9055.
How to prevent unwanted visitors
- keep dog and cat food bowls inside at night
- fence off areas such as vegetable patches with galvanised wire netting
- keep chicken feed in a sealed container
- bury all food scraps in your compost bin
Remember all natives animals are protected under the law. It is illegal to harm or kill them.
Threats to wildlife
Cats and dogs are a significant threat to wildlife. Help protect our native wildlife by keeping dogs on leads while walking them and cats inside at night.
What the City of Cockburn is doing:
- Environmental education programs
- Revegetation to create or improve habitat
- Habitat Creation Subsidy Program
- Native Plant Subsidy Scheme for residents
- Managing invasive weed species
- Fencing to protect areas of natural bushland
- Feral animal control.
What to do:
- Do not approach a snake or kangaroo – call for expert assistance
- Cover birds/small animals with a towel or piece of clothing
- Contain the animal to prevent further injury e.g. cardboard box
- Contact the nearest wildlife care centre
- Keep the animal in a warm, quiet and dark place
- Do not give the animal food or water
For assistance with injured wildlife:
- Department of Parks and Wildcare Hotline – Phone 9474 9055
- Native Arc (volunteer organisation) – Phone 9417 7105
View the pdf version of this information: Living with wildlife (pdf)
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