Fun among feathered friends at bird olympics

A range of different bird calls coming from On The Perch did not just belong to the park’s permanent feathered residents, but also to a group of schoolchildren.

The Sapphire Coast Learning Community Bournda Bird Olympics returned for the second year on Friday, August 3, and was held at the bird park in Kalaru.

The overall champion from the event was Cobargo Public School’s Sonny Burgess, who as the sole competitor from his school took out both the highest overall and highest school scores. 

When asked what his secret was to knowing so much about birds, he said it was “just going out there and talking to them”, while he also reads a lot of books.

One of the major events from the day was the bird calling competition, with students giving their best impressions of a range of different birds, from kookaburras to corellas. 

Other events the 30-odd students participated in included identifying birds, identifying bird calls, an artwork competition and trivia. 

Tathra Public School Year 4 pupil Kiana Murphy makes a kookaburra's call

“It was fun, I learnt a few things,” Bega High School Year 8 student Ebony Constable said. 

Her favourite part of the event was walking through the bird park’s aviaries and identifying its residents, while her classmate Gem Faulkner said she liked learning about the different bird calls and Bodhi Moffatt-Turner enjoyed discovering which feather belonged to which bird. 

“It was surprisingly easy for me, even though I know nothing about birds,” Bodhi said.

Gem said she wanted to have a scientific career in the animal world.  

Tathra Public School pupil Kiana Murphy, who won the bird calling at last year’s event, and her schoolmates Sofie Van Hapenen and Ashton Cozens also enjoyed the olympics. 

“It was really fun because there were lots of cool activities and we learnt a lot as well,” Sofie said.

“I like birds because you can interact with them and they are smart,” Ashton said. 

The other schools involved were Bega Valley, Tanja, Towamba and Wolumla Public Schools, who sent students aged from Kindergarten to Year 10 to compete. 

Bournda Environmental Education Centre principal Doug Reckord said everyone enjoyed their time at the bird olympics.

“It was great to see kids getting into an art that was extremely popular in the 1950s and ’60s,” he said of bird calling.

“You can see why it was popular as it was an engaging thing to do.” 

He thanked Far South Coast Birdwatchers and On The Perch for their support of the event and thought it would run again next year. 

Bega High's Year 8 student Scarlett Whitaker gives her impression of a powerful owl
Cobargo Public School Year 6 pupil Sonny Burgess makes yellow tail black cockatoo and little corella calls