January 26 stirs a full spectrum of emotions for Australians across the country. It can be a day of pride or protest. A day to rejoice, reflect or reexamine our history. Or for some, perhaps it’s just any old Tuesday.
Whatever the tone of the day, Australians are bound by a love for our land, the seas that surround us and our extraordinary wildlife. Now more than ever, we’ve been prompted to treasure our natural wonders – as this time last year, our heroic firefighters battled Australia’s worst raging bushfires in modern history.
So, as we honour the many marvels of our island home today, we’re taking a virtual trip to a spectacular island just off Tassie, Maria Island.
Maria island is home to a unique collection of mammal, marine, and avian species – and has been categorised as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. This includes one of Australia’s rarest birds and the star of today’s Google Doodle, the forty-spotted pardalote. This precious bird is about 9-10 cm long, with a light olive green body and distinctive white dots. It is depicted nestled in its natural habitat, the dry eucalypt forest where white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) occurs. The tiny pardalote is the first Australian bird known to forage a sugary sap called manna by snipping the leaf stalks of gum trees. Maria Island supports the highest breeding population of forty-spotted pardalotes in Tasmania, which plays an important role in maintaining the forest’s vitality and managing insect pest populations.
Whether you’re in Tassie or Townsville, we invite you to explore Maria Island on Street View and get inspired for your next trip. You can discover ancient clams, sea fans, corals of the Fossil Cliffs walk – and the vibrant colours and swirling patterns of the Painted Cliffs walk.
Today’s Google Doodle was developed in collaboration with Tasmanian Aboriginal community and Elders. We respectfully acknowledge the Tasmanian Aboriginal communities and Elders past and present.