Delightful little Silvereyes, with their gentle high-pitched chatter, are not an uncommon species. They can be found all down the east coast, in Tasmania and in south-west Australia with some variation between the different identified races. We have Zosterops lateralis; race vegetus – a long name for such a small bird.
Silvereye in Common Pepper Vine
Eating the fruit of Common Pepper Vine
Plentiful fruit in this native Pepper vine, Piper caninum, is proving very popular and they seem to slide down whole without any apparent problem. While Silvereyes are known as a pest in some orchards and especially in vineyards we have the luxury of enough Black Sapote to share. Now that the crop is nearly finished the fruit-loving birds are competing with each other for a share and so the Silvereyes have shown their feisty nature as they compete with various Honeyeaters for the softest fruit.
We grow Black Persimmon also known as Black Sapote (Diospyros digyana) in our tropical fruit orchard and although we do sell some of our crop there is always plenty to share with the birds. We pick the fruit when it is still hard but those left on the tree become beautifully soft and mushy – perfect tucker for Honeyeaters and Silver-eyes.
As there are not many fruit soft and ripe enough for the birds at the one time there is considerable competition amongst them with the Helmeted Friarbird eagerly pushing the smaller birds out.
Macleay’s Honeyeater, an endemic species to our area, is cautious in its approach, waiting for an opportunity. Although it can be quite bossy around smaller birds it is dominated by the louder and bigger Helmeted Friarbird.
At last, a chance to enjoy a sweet, nutritious feast. Black Persimmon is an excellent source of Vitamin C and also has good amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
It is delicious mixed with yoghurt or made into a ‘smoothie’ but the birds seem happy to eat it unadulterated.
Nothing left of this fruit as this Yellow-spotted Honeyeater (I’m not entirely confident about ID) has just discovered but they’ll be more. The crop extends over a couple of months so all the fruit lovers, ourselves included, will be well fed.