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A quenda, Western Australia © Simon Cherriman

A quenda, Western Australia © Simon Cherriman

Backyard and Balcony Bingo

06 Apr 2020

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Staying home can be fantastic! By staying in right now, you’re doing a good thing for the people you love, from the cosiest place in the world. If you start to feel a little cooped up, don’t forget - staying inside doesn’t mean losing touch with nature. In Australia, we’re blessed with some of the world’s most unique and adorable species, many of which wander right up to our doorstep!

 

Explore the great outdoors from your backyard or your balcony with a bit of wildlife bingo.

 

Possum

Common Ringtail Possum | © Klein & Hubert / WWF
Australia is home to approximately 23 species of possum! This means that if you live in Australia and have some trees nearby, you’ll probably be able to spot one of these cuties in no time. Most possums, like the ringtail possum pictured, are nocturnal, so we recommend you make yourself a cup of tea and watch the sunset. Then, when it’s dark, have a torch at the ready as you listen out for rustling in the treetops. 

 

 

Rosella

Crimson Rosella | © Chris Farrell Nature Photography / WWF-Aus
These gorgeous birds can be found in every state, and vary in colour, from the gorgeous crimson pictured, to blue, yellow and green. Rosellas love bathing in puddles of water, so setting up a bird bath in your backyard or on your balcony will give you a better chance to spot them up close - shallow bowls like pot plant saucers work a treat!

 

Cotton Harlequin Bug

Cotton Harlequin Bugs |  © James Wainscoat / Unsplash
Found in Northern and Eastern Australia, cotton harlequin bugs, sometimes known as the Hibiscus Harlequin Bug, look like little jewels. In cooler months, adults cluster together to rest and can stay like this for weeks, so if you find a group in your backyard, they might be keeping you company while you #StayHome! Be careful to not disturb them; cotton harlequin bugs get as stinky as they are colourful when they feel threatened. 

Kookaburra

Kookaburra perched in a gumtree | © Shutterstock / KarenHBlack / WWF
Kookaburras are iconic Australian kingfishers. They aren’t as colourful as other kingfishers, but what they lack in colour they make up for with their vibrant, booming laugh. You will probably hear these birds before you see them!

 

 
Blue Tongue Lizard

Closeup of a Blue Tongue Lizard | © Martin Harvey / WWF
A backyard favourite, blue tongue lizards are more likely to find you than you are to find them! They love to find warm, safe spaces like garages and laundry rooms to hide out in. Because they’re cold-blooded, you’ll most likely find them sunbathing in the morning to warm up before breakfast.

 

If you do find a blue tongue in your backyard, the best thing to do is leave them alone. They aren’t dangerous, and moving them to an unfamiliar environment may put them at risk. This rule also applies to baby blue tongue lizards; they become independent about four days after they’re born, so they don’t need any help from us. The more comfortable they become in your backyard, the more often you will see them - another animal to keep you company while you #StayHome!

 

 

Lorikeet

Rainbow lorikeet eating nectar from a red flowering gum tree © Shutterstock / Jun Zhang / WWF
If you’ve got a Grevillea or a flowering gum tree in your backyard, you’ve probably got lorikeets! They’re nectar-eating parrots that often fly in large, screeching groups that are impossible to miss. Like many Australian birds, lorikeets are clever and cheeky. If you make yourself familiar by watching them nibble whenever they stop by for a snack, you may find yourself with daily visitors that become curious about you too! 

 

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth © Katherine Howard / WWF-Aus

Tawny frogmouths are found all over Australia - chances are, you’ve seen one before. They’re nocturnal birds, often mistaken for owls, that spend their evenings pouncing from tree branches to the ground, searching for insects, slugs and snails. Bingo tip: if you spot a tawny frogmouth in your backyard at night, use your torch (on its lowest setting) to illuminate moths and other bugs flying around near the ground. The tawny frogmouth will see them first, and fly right in your line of sight! 

 

Cockatoo

Carnaby’s black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) displaying its wings. Western Australia. | © Georgina Steytler / WWF-Aus

No bird is called a “larrikin” as often as the cockatoo. These squawky parrots can be found all over Australia in white, black, red, yellow and pink! They’re clever, cheeky and sometimes chatty, so be sure to say hello if they stop by to perch on your balcony.