Avian Arrivals and Departures: The Yallaroo bird list now stands at 76 species. This includes birds flying over as well as birds landing. In spring and autumn there are a number of interesting arrivals and departures.

The strangest bird to visit Yallaroo would have to be the Channel-billed Cuckoo, Scythrops novaehollandiae. This large grey, ungainly bird arrives in early spring. Its arrival is heralded by its call, which may best be described as a raucous shout that is repeated and rises in intensity. The large beak is curved, straw-coloured with a conspicuous channel on each side. The hosts include Currawongs, Magpies and Crows. We have seen a pair of Currawongs feeding a young Channel-bill. Even juveniles are much larger than the foster parents.

Channel-bills migrate from Indonesia and New Guinea. Its distribution is very wide in Australia and is found in northern Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. We have heard them in Sydney, Blue Mountains, the Southern Tablelands as well as the Northern Tablelands. In autumn (March-April) they migrate back north.

Dollar Birds, Eurystomus orientalis, is another spring visitor from the north. This stocky greenish bird has a wide red beak and large dark-brownish head. In flight a large white circle is visible on each wing. The call is loud and rasping. The Dollar Bird has a similar range to the Channel-bill but also extends into Victoria. We often see Dollar Birds performing aerial acrobatics as they catch insects. They head north between February and April and spend winter in New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia. A truly cosmopolitan visitor.

Rainbow Birds, Merops ornatus, is another spring arrival. This medium bird has a curved black beak, golden-bronze crown with beautiful overall colours of pale-green and blue. Rainbow Birds move down from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in large flocks. Shortly after arrival they pair off. Rainbow Birds take insects on the wing. They nest in the ground by constructing a burrow that may be up to one metre long. We have seen mass nesting in a sandy bank near Lismore on the North Coast and single nesting burrows near Barraba and the Warrumbungle National Park both in central NSW. They leave Australia in Feb-March. Before departure they congregate in large noisy flocks.

Wildlife