(Australian Ornithological Services P.L.)
Sun, 4 May 1997 23:29:51 +0000
And back to Mistletoe-
The value of mistletoe in relation to honeyeaters can't be underestimated.
Just this last weekend I've had a pair of Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters in a
mixed species plantation of about 2 ha. The first plantings were made about
ten years ago and I started spreading mistletoe berries four-five years ago
and some are now fruiting well. The Spinys appear primarily to be feeding
on two spp. of mistletoe - Wire-leaf & Grey.While I'd hoped that Spinys
would eventually turn up it is doubtful that they would have been attracted
for years to the site without the mistletoe. Striped and maybe Painted H.E.
are next on the wish list, even a Singing would do! All of these spp. eat
Around Deniliquin (Southern Riverina) Painted H.E prefer Grey and in some
years Box Mistletoe (Amyema miquelii).These spp. have larger, fleshier,
sweeter berries than many other mistletoes so the attraction is obvious. On
one occasion I've seen Painted H.E. feeding on Wire-leaf mistletoe which
also has large freshly berries. They would probably feed on other spp. as
well but most of the spp. of mistletoe aren't fruiting when Painted H.E.
are in southern.Aust (spring/summer). Wire-leaf and Harlequin mistletoes
fruit mainly in the autumn/winter. It is not unheard of to have Painted
H.E. here in June if the Grey mistletoe continues to fruit for an extended
time. Harlequin mistletoe has very little flesh on the berries and even
mistletoe birds aren't overly crazy about them.
Interestingly (well to me anyway)Fleshy mistletoe, which often grows on
other species of mistletoe, is quite commonly found here on Sandlewood and
Quandong trees which are themselves parasitic although it is quite rare for
any spp. to grow on Exocarpus- another root parasite.Only once have I seen
Box mistletoe growing on Exocarpus strictus and I've recently attempted to
put two different spp. of mistletoe berries on Exocarpus cuppressiformis,
without either seeming to have taken.
My finest hour - I have a eucalypt in my garden that has three different
spp. of mistletoe including Harlequin and there's a buloake tree near
which has four spp. on it! Takes some beating!
P.O Box 382 Balwyn 3103 Victoria
94 Hunter Street, Deniliquin 2710 NSW
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