On a crisp Autumn morning we gathered in the Community Garden with Peta Lierich from Nature Conservation Margaret River, who shared with us her vast knowledge of the native birds that frequent Cowaramup and surrounds. Her love of native birds was infectious and as families listened carefully to her stories, there were smiles all around.
We learnt about the birds that hang out in the trees of our neighbourhood, including the Red Tailed Cockatoo, Baudin’s Cockatoo, Carnaby’s Cockatoo, Tawny Frogmouth, Mopoke, Masked Owl and of course the Cowara bird (Purple Crowned Lorikeet) from which our town, Cowaramup is named. Peta highlighted the importance of our local native eucalypt forests which act as a food corridor between habitats from just north of Perth to further south around Augusta and Albany. She shared with us a stunning picture of the local Masked Owl and talked about how these little guys unfortunately often eat poisoned rats found around houses and re-enforced the need to use other ways of eliminating rodents.
The children eagerly raised their hands as Peta played a game with different bird calls to be identified when their sound was heard. She showed the children gum nuts with varied bite marks from the different native birds that eat them. Curious minds then tried to name the native bird that had been nibbling on the nut!
With our newly found knowledge and interests piqued we then moved on to our creative activity – Bird Collages. The garden was alive with chatter as the children excitedly selected the native birds they wanted to create. Little hands could be seen running with pictures of Kookaburras, Tawny Frogmouths, Parrots, Cockatoos and Owls ready to get creating.
Families began working together tearing out and cutting colourful patterned paper into the shape of feathers, wings, tails. Pasting each carefully selected piece of paper one by one… the shape of many brilliant characterful native birds came to life each with their own personality.