This photo isn’t from my ‘local’ garden but it certainly must rank among the top exotic bird bath visitors of all time! A friend in Australia sent me a newspaper clipping from the March 4th edition of the Sydney Morning Herald showing a koala tippling in a local garden.
Normally koalas do not drink water because they obtain their hydration from their diet of eucalyptus leaves, but as a result of Australia’s prolonged drought conditions those leaves contain less moisture (and more toxins.) The koalas’ bodies recognize their impending dehydration and have been driven to drink — literally — from backyard birdbaths where available.
For those who wish to help thirsty wildlife but don’t have a birdbath, there is a new invention called a Blinky Drinker that can be attached to a tree to provide a water source for the koalas and other tree dwellers such as sugar gliders. Two marvelous koala videos can be seen here.
In an ironic weather twist, parts of Australia have experienced heavy rains during the past week or two and areas of Queensland are today bracing for the impact of Cyclone Debbie, a category 4 storm expected to cause widespread flooding and damage to coastal sections of the continent.
For those interested in helping the dwindling koala population, the Australian Koala Foundation is a privately funded nonprofit organization that is also supporting legislation to make the koala a protected species, similar to the Bald Eagle Protection Act in the United States.