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Birdata is your gateway to BirdLife Australia data including the Atlas of Australian Birds and Nest record scheme. You can use Birdata to draw bird distribution maps and generate bird lists for any part of the country. You can also join in the Atlas and submit survey information to this important environmental database.


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Welcome to Birdata 23 July 2014

Drinking in the desert's delights

P.R. Marsack

One of the joys of birdwatching in the inland is sitting beside a waterhole in the evening, watching the birds come in to drink. What unfolds is usually nothing short of enchanting.

In a typical desert scene, as the shadows of the spindly trees lengthen, the Common Bronzewings and Crested Pigeons land nearby with a puff of red dust, and run towards the edge of the waterhole to drink, wading into the shallows to enthusiastically suck up the cool water. Raucous flocks of Little Corellas arrive, landing on any available perch, and, like clowns and acrobats, they playfully hang upside down to reach into the water to quench their thirst. Budgerigars burst onto the scene in whirring flocks, wheeling round and round the waterhole in unison; some then perch on nearby bare branches, their bright green plumage transforming the sticks into festive foliage, while others land directly on the water's surface, floating briefly while they wet their whistle. Another whirring of wings, accompanied by a cacophony of comical honking contact calls, signifies the arrival of a flock of tiny Zebra Finches. They hop over the ground, then immerse their bright orange bills to drink daintily form the water's edge. This passing parade of birdlife seldom fails to delight.

The accompanying map shows the distribution of the Zebra Finch, highlighting its prevalence in the harshest parts of the interior of Australia. This diminutive bird almost always contributes to a desert evening's pageant.

If you want to discover more information about this species or any other birds that occur in Australia, just take a little time to explore the Birdata website, or visit the BirdLife Australia website at . You never know what you might find.

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Next week: Night Parrot