Investigating Australian birds

Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 students have been reading the Aboriginal Dreaming story of Pheasant and Kingfisher, in a big book version by Catherine Berndt & Raymond Meeks.

We used a Google Images search to locate online photographs of Australian pheasants and Australian kingfishers. The additional descriptor of “long tail” helped us find images of kingfishers “with firesticks stuck in their bottom”.

We discussed why images of peacocks (not Australian!) and lyrebirds turned up in the pheasant image seach, and why kookaburras turned up in the kingfisher search. We then used Youtube to locate examples of a pheasant saying its name, “Bookbook”, as in the story, and a kingfisher saying “Bered-bered”.

Common pheasant making quick repeated sounds while taking a walk

Pheasant – common pheasant bird call

Pied Kingfisher catching fish in split second – BBC wildlife

The next week, we moved our investigations into factual information on Australian birds:

Aussie beauties – a tribute to Australian birds


In support of the CBCA shortlised information book, “Lyrebird!: a true story” by Jackie Kerin & Peter Gouldthorpe:

Anglo Saxon lyre

The sound of 3000 year old lyre strings (2 of 5)

Ten cent coin – Australian – from 1966 to present today

Lyre bird mimicking voices (Healesville Sanctuary)

In 2010, author Jackie Kerin and Malcolm McKinnon created a video about Edith Wilkinson and James the lyrebird, who are now featured in “Lyrebird!: a true story”:

Edith’s lyrebird