‘Little balls of pure joy’: why the superb troglodyte won our bird of the year 2021 | Australian bird of the year 2021

The Guardian / BirdLife Australia 2021 Bird of the Year survey ended with the stunning wren in the lead.

While at the beginning the victory made me cry “beauty contest!” », It testifies to our desire for small moments of joy in our daily life, confined within the confines of our home.

Stunning wren, with their magnificent blue plumage, can be seen weaving their way between the dense bushes of gardens and parks in nearly every Australian capital.

And the winner is ... a stunning wren announced as Australia's bird of the year 2021 - vidéo
And the winner is … a stunning wren announced as Australia’s bird of the year 2021 – vidéo

For the superb voter and urban environmentalist Kylie Soanes, they have been a comfort throughout the pandemic.

“I’ve seen a lot of messages on Twitter saying ‘Oh, that’s a common bird. Why couldn’t something more special win? They are not even the best troglodytes, ”says Soanes. “But it’s these little balls of pure joy that have managed to hang around our cities and delight as they fly past you on your way to work or you see them leap into a train station. They are always busy.

For Sean Dooley of Birdlife Australia, it wasn’t just their color that secured the victory, but also their demeanor. “The blue is dazzling. It sparkles, it’s not just blue, it’s different shades of blue that sparkle in the light. And although female birds don’t have that brightness, they hold each other in a certain way. The way they are hopping with their tails in the air, it gives them attitude and makes them look cheeky.

At the start of the pandemic, the #BirdingFromHome hashtag took off and attracted more people looking for a connection with nature to their backyards. “For a lot of us it really made us look around and wonder who we share these spaces with and I think that’s why fairies have become a staple,” says Soanes.

There is also a lot more to these birds than their stunningly beautiful appearance. They are very good fathers. Research published in 2017 found superb male wren singing to their chicks while still in the bud produced more attentive offspring. They are known to listen in on other birds to detect calls of danger, which shows a high level of consciousness. And there are their “scandalous” love lives.

“Back then, we thought they had this supreme marital bliss,” says Soanes. “Male and female mate for life and everything is wonderful. But then scientists discovered through genetic research that a fairy wren’s nests can be made up of eggs from several different fathers. It turns out that the females, just before dawn, sneak up on what’s called a “pre-dawn raid” and have a sexy little date with the neighboring male wren. They are quite outrageous.

In September, Soanes launched the Troglodytes of the super-cities citizen science project, calling on the public to record sightings of stunning fairy swans around Melbourne. It came after worrying data released by BirdLife Australia revealed a drop in wren sightings around Australian capitals.

Weekend registration in Australia

“In Melbourne and Perth, reporting rates for fairy swans have almost halved during this period,” says Dooley. “However, there are changes happening in our urban areas and around the fringes of our big cities and towns, and that is linked to the loss of cave dwelling habitat.

While you might still be wondering why a “common” bird should win, Soanes says it’s important to pay attention to these birds as well.

“What happens with these common urban birds is that we take them for granted, and we think, ‘oh yeah, they’re going to be fine, there’s loads of them.’ Then all of a sudden they They aren’t anymore and they’re gone and we find ourselves scratching our heads, and that’s what we’re trying to prevent from happening.


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