Goanna of the Week – arlewatyerre or aremaye?

Goanna of the Week – arlewatyerre or aremaye?

April 17, 2018

The generic gloss (non-Arandic & non-scientific) term for these brightly-coloured and drop-dead gorgeous (as food and on the eye) monitor lizards is Sand Goanna. Not very helpful when the landscape is dominated by rock and and lots ... biggest mobs in fact ... of red sand.

Singing Wardaman Country, one Gouldian Finch at a time.

Singing Wardaman Country, one Gouldian Finch at a time.

March 15, 2018

This is a re-post of an article first published in the February 2018 edition of Land Rights News (Northern Edition) by the Northern Land Council. Birds are closely connected to Wardaman culture. Many Wardaman dances have been adapted from bird movements and much Wardaman rock art depicts birds.

Firehawks: avian pyromaniacs may have used fire before humans

January 31, 2018

This has major ramifications for land use and conservation across Australia's northern savannahs and potentially beyond. Changed fire regimes by Europeans from those practiced for millennia by Aboriginal people wrought dramatic changes on the Australian landscape, a factor which imperilled (and continues to imperil) the existence of many native species. How do we account for birds as another potential fire vector?

Requiem for a Monster, by John Birmingham

Requiem for a Monster, by John Birmingham

December 25, 2017 6

All those ratfucks understood was strength and fear and the simple joy of driving their enemies before them. There was no schadenfreude in seeing Bjelke-Petersen humiliated before the Fitzgerald Inquiry when he was unable to explain what was meant by the doctrine of the separation of powers, because all it did was hammer home the truth that we'd been comprehensively arse-raped by a man with the ethics of a starving sewer rat, and the political instincts of a sabre-toothed baboon with a really scorching methamphetamine addiction.

“Intentional Fire-Spreading by “Firehawk” Raptors in Northern Australia,” Bonta et al. Journal of Ethnobiology, 37(4) (abstract)

“Intentional Fire-Spreading by “Firehawk” Raptors in Northern Australia,” Bonta et al. Journal of Ethnobiology, 37(4) (abstract)

December 20, 2017

In a broader sense, better understanding of avian fire-spreading, both in Australia and, potentially, elsewhere, can contribute to theories about the evolution of tropical savannas and the origins of human fire use.

Ben the Dingo’s excellent Christmas Holiday adventures

Ben the Dingo’s excellent Christmas Holiday adventures

December 18, 2017

Ben the Dingo has a combination of freedom, security, love and wildness that suits him perfectly. He is an entity to himself and well loved in the community and beyond. He has been given a chance in life and has thrived.

The Muckaty trial – the curious titfer and the media circus

The Muckaty trial – the curious titfer and the media circus

November 21, 2017

"Oh," I remark and after identifying Emu, Bustard and Black Kite feathers I remark that maybe he needs some colour and should be on the look out for some Red-tailed Black Cockatoo feathers.

Return of the Storm-bird – the Channel-billed Cuckoo comes south for the summer

Return of the Storm-bird – the Channel-billed Cuckoo comes south for the summer

November 19, 2017

I've been very interested in cuckoos generally—and Channel-billed Cuckoos in particular—for a few years, especially in relation to the knowledge that Aboriginal language groups here in the Northern Territory and beyond have about them. I'd love to hear any information that groups outside of the areas discussed in the post may have—feel free to drop me a line or post a comment.

Word of the Day: Mantharre (Death Adder)

Word of the Day: Mantharre (Death Adder)

November 4, 2017 1

If the death adder bites you on the leg it holds on for good and you die, the snake as well.

Word of the week: aherlkelh-ilem: “make the sun come up” (Anmatyerr)

Word of the week: aherlkelh-ilem: “make the sun come up” (Anmatyerr)

November 3, 2017 2

The nyarew cuckoo [Horsefield's Bronze-cuckoo] sings out from hollow trees, or maybe from a forked branch. The nyarew sings out all night, and makes the daylight come.