Gaille Walton's passion for Australian birdlife inspired her debut picture book, 'Hootity-Hoot'

October 11th, 2020

I still own three of my badges from my years when I was a Gould League for Bird Lovers Member! Is that lame or is it a passion?

When I travel, I delight in seeing the local birdlife. When I am at home, I stop to listen or view the birds that reside thereabouts or have come for a visit. In the bush, to see birds in their natural surrounds, sparks joy. Even a glimpse is better than nothing at all. So, yes, this is passion.

The powerful owl is one such creature that I have seen in its natural habitat-not only to spy it perched on a branch, but over several viewings, to witness it capturing and killing its possum prey - a grizzly sight - and to also see a mother owl with its beautiful white owlet. As a vulnerable species, this was a special find, made even more special, as these occasions were shared with my students. This was my inspiration to write ‘Hootity-Hoot’.

In the same bushland, over a period of time, we observed a local kookaburra. It would fly into the hollow of a gum tree. A little while later, it would fly off. Ah hah! A nest! Back and forth the adult kookaburra flew. How fascinating it was! The sight of it feeding its babies was even captured! Wow! 

Unfortunately the flight of the kookaburra fledglings was missed. Another time …

Any opportunity to bring awareness and understanding of our wildlife is vital. Our recent drought and bushfires have heightened this necessity. How much of our flora and fauna were lost. How crucial they are to our survival. Deforestation. Climate change. Losing links in the food chain will be catastrophic for our planet.

We have had to let go of many aspects of our lives because of COVID19. Such a horrible time. But, for our wildlife - maybe a chance. There has been an increase in certain animal species population; unusual birds have been seen by some for the first time. Is this really happening, or have we simply taken more time/had more time to appreciate nature’s beauty.

Gaille Walton's debut picture book, ‘Hootity-Hoot’, is available now.
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