Dedicated to understanding  the remarkable emotional, social and mental abilities of birds, and the unsuspected richness of their societies.

Hawks At A Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors - Book Review



I had the opportunity to read Jerry Liguori's latest book - 'Hawks At A Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors' and I do think that it is a brilliant book and a must have for raptor lovers in North America,

Identifying birds in flight is always a challenge, especially birds like the raptors that fly at great heights. Migratory hawks are even more difficult to identify as the average enthusiast rarely gets the opportunity to study them closely for a long enough to learn their characteristics.

Liguori's latest book is a breakthrough in this regard. For each species Liguori presents many pictures showing them at different angles of flight. The text although concise focusses on describing the subtle variations necessary to help identify the species, sex and even the age group of the birds soaring miles above. There is also a complete section at the end that covers the silhouettes formed by the different species of raptors from a variety of angles and at different heights.

This book is an incredible resource for birders who are keen about migratory hawks as well the generalist birdwatcher who donned with a pair of binoculars spots a hawk in flight. Even occasional casual birders will enjoy hawk spotting with their families with the aid of this book which is destined to become a classic for many years to come.


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Wild Bird Shelly Magpie Walks Into The Cage On Request

Shelly magpie (left with injured wing) and sister Nelly magpie

Juvi magpies - Shelly (left) with sister Nelly at our back door.


Will a wild bird (never handled or hand fed) walk into a cage just because you ask her to?

Juvi magpie Shelly injured herself on the day of the terrible storms resulting in the inland tsunami in Toowoomba and the Lockyer valley. She didn't come down with her family for two days. Due to the heavy rains we couldn't go out into the neighbouring paddocks looking for her either. We thought she may have met a tragic end in the storms, but when the rains stopped briefly on the third day Ron went scouting and found her sitting still in a paddock. Relieved to find her alive, Ron and I would go out to the fields to feed her when we could.  A few days later she started to walk but after 3 weeks she still could not fly.  She could only climb up tree trunks by hopping along along fallen branches that were still leaning against them as in the picture below. 

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Why Care About Bats? (Year of The Bat 2011-2012)

bats in cave art from the Icae age 20-25,000 years ago in the Kimberley region

(All pictures in this article: courtesy and Long Grass Wildlife Refuge)

Bats are among the earliest mammals, experts dating them back to around 50 million years. Cave paintings in the Kimberley's dating back to the last Ice Age which was around 20 - 25,000 years ago feature bats as can be seen in the above image.

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Juvi Magpies Tumbling Around Like Puppies



Australian magpies Shelly and Nelly are about six months old. They are Vicky and Bertie's second set of kids.  They love playing around are backyard, tumbling around, playing tug-o-war, pouncing on crows and  bossing currawongs. Always on the alert, they are quick to chase goannas and snakes away or put out alarms of eagles soaring in the sky.

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Year Of The Bat - Bats Are Our Allies

Year-of-the-bat-logoFlying Foxes and microbats are a much misunderstood animal and sadly much feared due to misinformation and negative stereotyping in legends and myths.

In reality, bats as they are commonly called (which refers flying foxes and microbats) are the world's only flying mammals and are allies of nature, being the the only pollinators of many species of trees and plants around the world.  Without them the these trees would cease to spread and many other species would also lose their habitat.!  Many species of bats are close to extinction due to loss of habitat and disease.


2011-2012 is the Year of The Bat.   This is an international campaign to help educate the world about the world's only flying mammals.  The campaign will also promote conservation and research efforts around the globe.  The campaign is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Convention and Conservation of Migratory Species, EUROBATS and many partner organisations around the world. See for more details.

 Dr Merlin D. Tuttle is a leading conservationist who has studied bats for over 50 years. He is also an Dr Tuttle imageaward winning photographer and the founder of Bat Conservation International (BCI), which is an organisation dedicated to conservation, research and education of bats.  Merlin's Bats, Angel of Bats and The Secret World of Bats are some of his well known films that have been aired in over 100 countries.

In the article below first published on the Bank Of Natural Capital Dr Tuttle describes the unique role played by bats (please note: the copyright for all the photographs in this article belong to Dr Merlin Tuttle, Bat Conservation International,

Bat Pollinators: Tequila and The Tree of LIfe

Bats: Nature's Natural Pesticide

Bat Fertilizer

From Terror to Tourist Attraction

Year of the Bat 2011-2012


 Bats as Invaluable Allies

 by Dr Merlin D. Tuttle

(Republished with kind permission of Bank of Natural Capital)


bat eating pollen

(Copyright for all the photographs in this article belong to Dr Merlin Tuttle, Bat Conservation International,

Were you aware that bats are key pollinators in many parts of the world? Pollination is a vital ecosystem service without which many of our key industries such as agriculture and pharmaceuticals would collapse or incur heavy costs for artificial substitution. TEEB has found that in some estimates, over 75% of the worlds crop plants, as well as many plants that are source species for pharmaceuticals, rely on pollination by animal vectors.1


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