Birder or twitcher, which one are you? I spoke to some of my favourite people who enjoy spying on birds and asked them this important question. In the first of what will be a series of curious questions for my fellow bird nerds, I aim to figure out what makes them tick. This two minute snippet features Jack Parrington, Tanya Loos, Jason Caruso, Colin Clark, Michael Gooch and Alison Nisbett. Thank you for your honesty and most importantly, thanks for the giggles! Cheers, Louise. 

Special guest mix!

For the first time on Outside Four Walls, we have asked to share a guest mix by a friend in the UK, music connoisseur Tat. He very kindly said yes, so we happily present a link to his "In Praise of Birds #1 - Woodland" mix for your listening pleasure.

For a bit of fun I have compiled another bird-related mix, maybe to be listened to in the car en route to your favourite birding spot; or have it on in the background as you pull together your notes of the day's sightings? Who knows - anyway, enjoy!

  1. Ivor Cutler - Jungle Tip: Owl
  2. BB King - Hummingbird
  3. Laura Marling - Little Bird
  4. The Jayhawks - Blue
  5. The Hazelman Brothers - Feathered Friend
  6. Augie March - The night is a Blackbird
  7. Violent Femmes - Flamingo Baby
  8. New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Penguins
  9. Radiohead - Morning Mister Magpie
  10. The Beautiful Girls - Blackbird
  11. Elemental - Owl Club
  12. Caribou - Brahminy Kite
  13. Leadheart Deadbird - Lose Control (ft. Michael Lunz)
  14. DJ Food- Magpie Music (ft. 2econd Class Citizen)
  15. Fatboy Slim - Sunset (Bird of Prey edit)
  16. PJ Harvey - Seagulls

The Fan-tailed Cuckoo is considered by many as the harbinger of Spring (1 September); whist some birds do occasionally overwinter in Victoria they normally arrive to commence their breeding season from July to January. We were treated to an extremely vocal bird that wasn't shy to alert all and sundry in the vicinity that it was here, and that we were heading into an early Spring - a declaration shared by the blossoming Wattles. Sat in the open sunlight at the very top of a Yellow Gum, the trilling call of the bird was a nice addition to the general soundtrack of the resident Honeyeaters. You can read more about the Fan-tailed Cuckoo here.

The story: A young girl hears a thunderstorm approaching, but her mother doesn't have time to explain how thunder and lightning work. That night, a robot-alien visits the girl in "an educational dream" and reveals the mysteries of thunder and lightning, including an annoyingly catchy song with ridiculous synths and silly, spacey sound effects. (The real story: Louise had to prepare a presentation on weather/climate as part of her Diploma of Conservation and Land Management at TAFE. The teacher said she was getting sick of everyone doing powerpoint presentations so encouraged some creativity. Needless to say, she didn't quite expect this!)

Lyrics: "Light travels faster than sound, so we see the lightning first, then we hear the thunder next. To calculate your distance from lightning, when you see the lightning count the number of seconds, until you hear the thunder, then divide that number by three to get an answer in kilometres."

This mix was created for a small swap project with 11 others; each person created a mix and burned enough copies for everyone. They were all sent to one person who then collated and distributed a copy of every mix to each contributor. These projects are always great fun to be involved with as you never know what esoteric collections will land in your postbox! My tracklist is below: -

  1. 'Little' Jimmy Dickens - May the Bird of Paradise fly up your nose
  2. The Upsetters - Bird in hand
  3. DJ Cam - Birds also sing for Anamaria
  4. Conrad Newholmes - Epic of Snakebird
  5. Spoonbill - Low and Easy
  6. Jackie Mittoo - Soul Bird
  7. Lalo Schifrin - Bamboo Bird Cage
  8. U-Roy - Silver Bird
  9. Natural Self - Song Bird
  10. Teebs - Humming Birds
  11. Bleubird - Shotgun birdy
  12. Linton Kwesi Johnson - Di Eagle an' Di Bear
  13. NonLinearEffect - Ain't no bird
  14. The Budos Band - Chicago Falcon
  15. Blue juice - Head of the Hawk
  16. The The - Sweet bird of truth
  17. The Bird - Enter the bird
  18. Vulva - Happy Birdie! Sad Birdie!
  19. Boards of Canada - An Eagle in your mind