Endangered Miracles

Imagine the feeling when critically endangered fledglings flutter out of hiding and settle a few metres from where you are crouched.


Endangered miracleHelmeted Honeyeater – Fledgling


I get goosebumps looking at the above image, not because it’s a brilliant image but because of the feeling of wonderment that comes flooding back when I look at it. This little miracle is one of a handful of Helmeted Honeyeaters that fledges in the wild. My intrepid friend, Fiona, and I brave the mossies and leeches each fortnight as part of a team of volunteers who provide supplementary feeding for the hehos each day of the year; we were busy measuring the Wombaroo mix when we noticed the flutter of tiny wings.

This fledgling is very young. It still has an orange bill, which will turn black quite quickly. Its tail is short, its head and underparts are a lovely soft green rather than the more vivid yellow they will become as it grows, and its feet are still pink.


Fighting extinctionHelmeted Honeyeater – adult and fledgling


While the honeyeaters are raising fledglings they are supplied with a limited number of mealworms to provide extra protein for the young birds.

It was an overcast day, which wasn’t ideal for photography, and I was so thrilled to see the fledglings that it was a while before I set up the camera and took some images to share. A second little one stayed partly hidden amongst the foliage.


Endangered Miracles - Kim Wormald

 Helmeted Honeyeater – fledglings


Sometime later the babies showed themselves again. By then their tails had grown, their feathers were less green, their yellow tufts had sprouted and their feet and bills had darkened.

Fledglings are testimony to the dedication of the team of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure the continued existence of Helmeted Honeyeaters. There are a multitude of duties including feeding, organising the food, coordinating the rosters, habitat management, captive breeding programs and a vast assortment of associated research, administration and other tasks. If you’d like to learn more about hehos or are interested in volunteering please visit Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater. There are two earlier posts that might also be of interest: Helmeted Honeyeaters! and Helmeted Honeyeater – such creative titles!

I wanted to share something special today as it is the 2 year anniversary of lirralirra. What began as a tentative step towards trying to improve my photography and share my passion for birds has become an integral part of my week. I wanted the layout to be flexible which means it’s a harder site to find than if it was part of an online community like flickr or tumblr; so I am extra grateful for the kindred spirits who have somehow managed to find it. There have been nearly 14,000 visits, from 1282 cities in 110 countries – the world-wide web is incredible.

Thank you, and happy birding, Kim


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16 comments to Endangered Miracles

  • Congratulations Kim! That’s a lot of time and effort and commitment – not always easy to do in this busy world. You’ve done really well and we love reading your blog and seeing the photos each week. Like Alyssa, I think that last photo is really something special – love the feather detail, the subtlety of colours, the highlights in the eyes, even the tails look terrific. Best wishes for the year ahead…

    • lirralirra

      Thanks Rick, I really appreciate your kind comment. I nearly didn’t include the 2 bird image, I’m very glad I did after your’s and Alyssa’s comments. Wishing you a beaut year too.

  • OMG I have goosebumps looking at them. The images ARE stunning (as always) but I know how it feels to see and capture those animals that you know are in danger.

  • Happy 2nd Anniversary! I love these gorgeous birds. The fledgling is adorable.. Awesome photos. Have a happy weekend!

  • Oh. Oh my. Oh my oh my.
    Feathered enchantment – and thank you so much for sharing the magic.
    Congratulations on your anniversary too.

  • Carole King

    Hello Kim, Congratulations…haven’t the last two years literally flown by so fast.

    Your commitment to wild birds and the taking of their photographs is commendable, you do a great job each week and I always look forward to seeing your latest endeavour.
    Your Helmeted Honeyeater photos are brilliant, even if you don’t think so.

  • Im still trying to work out how on earth you get so close. Lovely shots

    • lirralirra

      I’m not usually so close, but I don’t share the distant ‘what-bird-is-that’ shots very often 🙂

      • I have been considering the tamron 150-600 lens to use with my 5DIII but I think given that I use the 100-400L Ive been spoiled by canon L lenses and will not be happy with it. So when things are far off I continue to use the 7D and Im just waiting for 7DII release which surely must be soon

        • lirralirra

          I read heaps of reviews about the Tamron and came to the same conclusion Julie, I love the sharpness of the 100-400 and the overall feel and quality. I have friends who are very happy with the Tamron. I’ve got a couple of long Canon lenses in my dreams but in the meantime I’m rapt with the 100-400mm. Maybe just another month or two for the 7DII!

  • Alyssa

    Congratulations on your two year anniversary! It has been a wonderful success because you are so committed and passionate about the birds and your photography. The pic of the two fluffy fledglings is one of my all time favourites 🙂

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