Montacute Pavilion and Villa Castagna are a haven for birdlife. With its nut, fruit and berry trees, and lots of flowering trees and plants, it forms an important mini-ecosystem that supplements the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens a little further up the street.
We have flocks of white Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos which feed on the big trees, especially the chestnuts, and nest there. They often come singly. They screech a lot, and can be very noisy. The young ones in winter make a drawn-out sound from their nests. There are also large flocks of Corellas, which are slightly smaller white cockatoos without the crest, with a less raucous call) that often wheel about overhead at evening.
There are several resident families of magpies, which are very musical. These feed mostly on the ground, where you see them looking for grubs and so forth. Sometimes there is a ‘magpie convention’ on the street corner outside. Because we have always been nice to them they are quite friendly, and often come quite close when we are working in the garden, especially the adolescent ones.
There is a pair of resident kookaburras, with their distinctive song. Blackbirds scrabble around in the undergrowth. Rosellas (colourful red and blue parrots, green when young) feed on the berry trees and on the ground. There is often a pair of wattle-birds, which flutter around quite low. There are also small birds, including honeyeaters, which nest in the hedges.
In autumn into winter there are flocks of currawongs, big magpie-like birds with white patches on their tails. These feed high but often fly low between the trees. They have a very pretty song as well. Currawongs and blackbirds often drink from the bird bath outside the west window.
In autumn, with the cockatoos, currawongs and magpies all singing together, it sounds like a bird symphony orchestra!