A feature of our small yard is a magnificent big Silver Banksia tree (Banksia marginata), planted just outside the fence but leaning strongly over it. A local species (the only local Banksia) it flowers profusely from autumn through winter.
The honeyeaters love it, and the big aggressive Red Wattlebirds move in and vigorously stake an exclusive claim to it. (These are not red, and don't live in wattle trees... Rather, they have red wattles, like a chook - that's a hen in Australia!)
|Red Wattlebird; the red wattle can be seen just below the white cheek patch.|
By now however the flowers have finished, leaving only drying spikes bereft of nectar and pollen. As we sat out on the balcony the other evening, we noticed that a young wattlebird - not long fledged - hadn't realised that the bounty had finished and was determined that a bit more effort would produce the reward that it had obviously learnt to expect.
|Young Red Wattlebird; the pink gape behind the beak, the lack of wattles and big white cheek triangle,|
the grey (not yellow) belly, seen below, and the general 'fluffy' appearance are giveaways.
Finally, as dusk was falling, it gave up. However it must have been watching when an adult flew in for a quick probe, as it came back for another try; unlike the experienced elder it again persisted for a while. It seems that previous experiences were so good that their memory outweighed its current frustration.
I've not seen it since, so presumably the lesson has finally been learnt.