My backyard is at the base of a tumbledown cliff in Alice Springs where a finger of bush reaches into suburbia. The previous tenant of my apartment had left a water-bowl just a few metres from my back verandah.
That bowl attracts a host of locals, including the local Willy Wagtails, Rhipidura leucophrys that have been busy raising a clutch of three under my neighbour’s eaves; the pair of hyper-aggressive White-plumed Honeyeaters Lichenostomus pencillatus with their nest buried deep in a mistletoe a few metres away; the family of Euros Macropus robustus that drain the bowl at a sitting and loll under the shade of the Corkwood tree waiting for a refill; the sub-adult Perentie Varanus gianteus that strolls in from the rocky hills with a boxer’s rolling shoulders and flicking tongue around sunset most days.
And then the other week I came back from town on one of those 40C+ days to a mad flurry of wings and panic calls that can only signal interloper … or predator. This Little Crow Corvus bennetti was trying to cool down in the water but was being harried by the adult Willy Wagtails, perhaps fearful that the Crow would attack their now fully-fledged clutch of young but more likely because they’ve co-habited this country in mutual hatred for millions of years and hey, thats what you do.
The Willy Wagtails are superb aerialists and the Crow, weighed down with water, could only look on with a snap of the beak or flap of wings as it was harried by the fantails.
An here is a little detail of the Crow’s feathers … I’ve not seen it back here lately, other than perhaps as part of the small flocks that fly overhead from time to time.