Lookout for Loved Up Singing Honeyeaters
From mid year to the end of summer, you may find a Singing Honeyeater in the mood for love in your garden, park or local bushland. These gorgeous birds breed from July to February each year, so you may soon have chicks near you.
Keep an eye out for these birds near water sources such as creeks, drainage channels, and swamplands, though they are also common quite close to the city in Perth.
If you spot a male Singing Honeyeater calling a melodious 'prrip, prrip', lightning may just strike twice. It isn't uncommon to one of these guys calling every 50 m along a Perth street. Each male will be singing to advertise that this is his territory, and it will usually focus on a flowering food source. Listen out for Singing Honeyeaters particularly in the early morning, when they will be one of the very first birds singing.
Singing Honeyeaters are one of Australia's most widespread species of honeyeater, and live west of the Great Dividing Range. They are widespread in Western Australia, except for the northern Kimberley or the extreme south-west. These birds also call Western Australia's coastal islands home.
Your local Singing Honeyeater pair is most likely the long-term relationship type, as pairs stay together for a long time. Singing Honeyeaters live in noisy families of five or six birds, though they often feed alone.
While breeding, your Singing Honeyeaters may form a mob to aggressively drive away or attack other birds or even larger animals, as they fight to defend their territory.
Watch out for these birds collecting grass, plant stems, delicate bits of spiderweb, roots, wool and hairs to construct their cup-shaped nest in the leaves of a thorny shrub or in a tree branch fork, usually 2-5 m above the ground. Mum sits on her different coloured eggs, but once they hatch dad pulls his weight too, and together the parents put in the the hard work required to feed their chicks.
To attract Singing Honeyeaters, plant acacias and insect-attracting plants and avoid the pesticides, as these birds will happily eat up small insects, beetles, moths, flies, spiders, caterpillars and grubs. These birds are omnivores, so they will also sip nectar, and eat fruits and berries. They will also take finch eggs and nestlings given the opportunity.
To return the favour, Singing Honeyeaters will help you out by pollinating several species of plants. Thanks guys!
Avoid planting weeds such as Bridal Creeper or African Boxthorn, as birds like the Singing
Honeyeater eat the berries and spread these invasive plants into other areas where they can
take over and become a huge problem for other Australian animals and their habitats. Spreading seeds is a great habit of the Singing Honeyeater when it is spreading native plant seeds, however.
If you're fond of a coffee on the balcony in the early morning, don't be surprised if a Singing Honeyeater wants to join you. Some Singing Honeyeaters in Victoria have discovered that the dregs of a camper's coffee cup may also contain a sweet drink.
Provide a bird bath or dish of water for birds like the Singing Honeyeater to drink from and bathe in. Keep the water fresh and clean, and don't let it dry out for long periods of time. Once birds find that your garden is a reliable place for a drink, they will visit often.
DID YOU KNOW?
The call of the Singing Honeyeater varies according to where it lives. Scientists have found that Singing Honeyeaters from mainland Australia did not respond to the songs of Singing Honeyeaters from an island off of Australia's west coast. This study showed that the songs of the birds on the island were smaller, had less song types, syllable types, and fewer syllables and notes per song. Perhaps this is an instance of bird dialects?