Top places for bird encounters in and around Melbourne
In light of National Bird Week this week, I thought it might be time to compile a list of places in and around Melbourne where you are (almost) guaranteed to encounter wild birds.
No I don't mean those pesky magpies in your backyard, seagulls at the beach or pigeons pecking about at the train station, I'm talking penguins, pelicans and parakeets!
With the help of fellow writers and bloggers, here is a list of places you can find friends of the feathered variety in Melbourne and beyond.
Pelicans at Hastings Wharf
Only yesterday my sons were watching one of Steve Backshall's Deadly 60 TV shows (Series 1 Ep 4 Australia) in which Steve journey's to WA in search of the tiger snake, pelican and the bottlenose dolphin.
Pelicans in Hastings
This reminded me of an encounter we all had with pelicans a number of years ago at Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula. Large numbers of these majestic birds wait patiently to feed off the scraps left behind from seafaring folk's recreational fishing hauls.
Pelicans in Hastings
We couldn't believe how many pelicans we could see and get really close to during our unplanned visit. We were told this is a very common sight.
Stop by the Pelikan Société with great views of the waterfront afterwards and enjoy a bite to eat.
Where: Marine Parade, Hastings
Bron from Smiths Holiday Road says there are "pelicans at San Remo before Phillip Island Bridge", too.
Cockatoos, Rosellas and Galahs at Grants Picnic Ground, Dandenong Ranges
Whenever I have visitors over, this is one of the first places I take them to; Grants Picnic Ground in the Sherbrooke Forest. Why? The birds!
There is a huge flock of native cockatoos, rosellas, lorikeets, galahs and the occasional kookaburra who perch on the treetops waiting for locals and tourists to feed them.
Feeding the cockatoos at Grants Picnic Ground
A friendly bunch, albeit a little rough sometimes because of their size (the cockatoos, that is), these feathery friends are such a delight to see. Most of the time they will feed from your hands, sometimes perch on your shoulder or head.
Bird seed is available to buy from the Grants Picnic Ground cafe/shop, where you'll also be given a ticket to access the feeding area. Grants Picnic Ground was not always a ticketed activity, but due to the amount of tourists who flock here in their droves, I guess there had to be some sort of controlled feeding space arranged.
Still a favourite and will always be, despite the occasional crowds.
Where: 70 Monbulk Road, Sherbrooke VIC
Little Penguins in St Kilda
Move aside penguins of Philip Island, your suburban cousins are the talk of this article.
St Kilda's very own penguin colony
I'll be honest and say I've actually never done this, but it's common knowledge to all Melburnians that you can see St Kilda's very own colony of little penguins waddle in from the sea, every night of the year, just after sunset.
In winter you might only glimpse a few but in summer, plenty.
Where: The start of St Kilda breakwater behind the Kiosk at the end of the pier.
Lyre Birds at Dandenong Ranges Cloudhill Gardens
It's always been a dream of mine to see a wild Lyre bird, ever since I saw this David Attenborough video:
Well it turns out you can actually see wild lyre birds in the forests of the Cloudhill Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges. Bron from Smiths Holiday Road has seen them, albeit not quick enough to capture these elusive feathered friends on camera.
"The Western treatment plant is amazing for birds, second only to Kakadu for bird diversity and numbers". More Here
And for a little virtual bird encounter, Kel says you must jump on over to the bird cam at 367 Collins Street. This is a live cam set up to film the only known peregrine falcon nesting site within Melbourne’s CBD. Go to www.367collinsfalcons.com.au. Amazing.