Thu, 24 Oct 1996 08:32:33 +1100
I find that a sure way of locating owls (or resting raptors) in the day is
to investigate when there is a commotion involving small passerines near
heavily foliaged trees. On several occasions friends and myself have
located owls in this way.
In the case of raptors flying overhead, I usually know (I'm sure others are
aware of this too) that one is about to appear when all of a sudden the
bird calls stop and there is silence and sure enough a harrier will cruise
by or a peregrine will be circling overhead in which case the birds can be
observed tilting their heads skywards. How they are aware of this in
advance is another question altogether.
It's interesting to note that Noisy Miners and other flocking species
appear to have different vocalisations for a range of would-be predators,
like the example of the African monkeys. I'm speculating whether this
"group vocalisation" has been better developed in flocking species as an
advantageous adaptation to species survival. It would seem pointless for
usually solitary species to have this ability when there are no other
members of its species to warn.
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