Birdwatching reminds Georgia Angus of the importance of appreciating our non-human co-inhabitants of this big spinning rock

• The Guardian/BirdLife Australia 2021 bird of the year poll begins on Monday

Over the past few years, my amateur bird watching has escalated into more of an obsession, one that occasionally pulls me out to more remote areas of Australia. Several months ago on one such trip, I had cause to think about what drew me to birds. On that particular day, I was walking in the Warrumbungles in New South Wales, trekking up a slope toward Mt Exmouth. I rounded a corner to spot an enormous wedge-tailed eagle perched on the ridge above me. It was an adult, with dark, near-black plumage, boxy shoulders and an immense beak. Its sheer mass was striking.

Related: Australian bird of the year 2021: nominate your favourite for the #BirdOfTheYear shortlist

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